When Chris Beard was at UALR for one season we didn’t get to know each other very well until the Trojans were in Denver for the NCAA Tournament.
I heard things about Beard, that he was a little of an introvert but a great story teller, especially about his days as an assistant to Bobby Knight.
Once in a phone conversation I asked him about the Texas job.
Beard graduated from Texas and was a student assistant for Tom Penders, who later became a friend of mine.
After a moment’s hesitation, Beard admitted that would be a dream come true, but as he put it, you don’t jump from UALR to Texas.
The jump took five years and some big-time NCAA Tournament success at Texas Tech.
When Texas called and asked for a meeting, it was done in a McDonald’s miles north of Lubbock.
Beard was torn. He loved Lubbock and Lubbock loved him.
Texas Tech did everything it could to keep him and not lose him to a rival, even offering him a life-time contract.
Beard, though, had that orange blood running through his veins and he had to give it a try.
Texas is one of the best athletic programs in the country with more money than it could ever spend, but the expectations there can border on unrealistic.
Unrealistic is not unusal for Beard, he took UALR to the NCAA Tournament and knocked of Purdue.
In his third year at Texas Tech he took the Red Raiders to the NCAA Tournament Championship game.
As of Thursday his dream became true when he was announced as the just the fourth coach of the Longhorns since he was a student there.