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Former UALR coaches have Big 12 week

by Wally Hall | April 4, 2021 at 3:05 a.m.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, known as UALR in NCAA Tournament circles, got a couple of nice references on its resume last week.

Former Trojans head coaches Chris Beard and Porter Moser became head coaches at two of the biggest programs in the Big 12.

Moser, who coached the Trojans from 2000-03, was named head coach at Oklahoma. He will replace legendary coach Lon Kruger, who retired.

Beard, who coached at UALR for one season in 2015-16 and knocked off No. 5 seed Purdue in overtime of the NCAA Tournament, became the head coach of the Texas Longhorns.

There's a difference in the jobs.

Oklahoma likes and wants to win. Texas expects to win -- now.

The UALR men's program has been to five NCAA Tournaments and has a 2-5 record in them.

Joe Foley's women's program has been six times and recorded two wins.

UALR basketball is widely respected, although a former administration shifted UALR to Arkansas-Little Rock to be known as Little Rock's team instead of a national one.

Moser left UALR to become head coach at Illinois State. He was just getting it going after four seasons when he was terminated. He landed on his feet with Rick Majerus at St. Louis, then took the smaller Loyola-Chicago job in 2011.

Moser built the Ramblers into a national power on defense. He took his team to the Final Four in 2018 and the Sweet 16 this season.

Beard left UALR for UNLV (which much like UCLA is happy with its initialed name), but when Texas Tech called it didn't matter that the job paid less -- Beard was pedal to the metal to get to Lubbock.

He had spent 10 years there under Bobby and Pat Knight, and he only left after he almost came to blows with new head coach Billy Gillispie.

A decade was how long it took Roy Williams as an assistant at North Carolina to become the Kansas coach.

Beard's journey of paying his dues was just beginning when he left Lubbock the first time.

He spent a year coaching in the ABA, then it was McMurry State in Abilene, Texas, for a year, then two at Angelo State where he was 47-15. That got the attention of a former blueblood coach, Eddie Fogler.

Fogler played for Dean Smith at North Carolina and was head coach at Vanderbilt and South Carolina before growing tired of dealing with summer coaches. He retired from coaching to become a consultant.

Fogler was hired by UALR, and he recommended a few names with Beard being his top choice.

When Beard arrived at Texas Tech, it didn't take long for him to become the Prince of the Texas Plains.

One of the underlying reasons Beard left the Rebels for the Red Raiders was that his three daughters lived in Abilene.

Avery, Ella and Mallory remain a big part of his life.

The Red Raiders were 18-14 in his first season, but notice was paid that things were changing in the flat lands.

Beard was 27-10 in his second season and made the Elite Eight. Texas Tech was 31-7 and lost in the national championship game the next season. Last season, Beard was 18-13 when the NCAA Tournament was canceled.

In what would be his last season, the Red Raiders were 18-11 and eliminated in the second round by the Arkansas Razorbacks. Five days later, Shaka Smart left Texas for Marquette.

Beard -- an alum of Texas, where he was a student assistant for Tom Penders -- was hired seven days later after Texas agreed to pay Texas Tech a $4 million buyout.

Beard left tears and anger behind, and he openly greeted all expectations as the head coach of the Longhorns, who are short on patience and long on demands.

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