The slogan is ‘What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.’ Well, the Chris Beard tenure with the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels ended abruptly after he took the Texas Tech job on Friday.
On the surface, the coaching move doesn’t seem like a big deal, but Beard accepted the UNLV job 19 days ago. He had his introductory press conference seven days ago. Before that, he was leading Little Rock to the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. So, in a span of a month, Beard has been the head coach of three different programs. Yet, USA Today’s Dan Wolken doesn’t want to blame Beard for leaving. Please, he should receive all the blame in the world. If he didn’t want to be in Las Vegas, then he should have never taken the job.
Most people recognize that it’s a unique situation. Former head coach Tubby Smith bolted the Red Raiders’ program to lead Memphis, and Texas Tech is supposed to be Beard’s dream job. However, if Duke came calling in a couple of years, Beard would be out the door so fast, forgetting about that so-called dream job.
Beard spent one season with the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans, turning a downtrodden program into a (30-5) season and a postseason win. Everything points to Beard becoming one of the finest coaches in college basketball, but he can’t be trusted.
Three days ago, Beard was completing his coaching staff with the Rebels. Is he going to bring this entire staff with him to Lubbock? He already ran off a couple of assistant coaches, including Rebels’ legend Stacey Augmon. Speaking of Augmon, maybe it’s time he gets the chance to run the UNLV program.
According to The Dagger’s Jeff Eisenberg, UNLV shouldn’t hold a grudge against their no-show coach. Not only is Beard leaving, he’s leaving the team with a depleted roster. UNLV athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy did not hold back when talking about Beard’s departure, calling the move “unprecedented” and “extremely disappointing.” Kunzer-Murphy also said UNLV will find a coach “who really wants to be here and who will honor his commitments.”
However, Beard said all the right things during the press conference. Remember, seven days ago, “coaching the Runnin’ Rebels was “an opportunity of a lifetime.” It sounds like nice lip service from a media trained coach.
Beard originally joined the Texas Tech program in 2001 under head coach Bob Knight. He became associate head coach in 2008 with Pat Knight at the helm. For him, it feels like he’s going home. We all know, UNLV was never home. Unfortunately, the Rebels didn’t find out until it was too late.
Beard will pay a $1 million buyout to UNLV.