Beard alluded to Hall of Fame football coach Bear Bryant as part of his explanation for leaving UNLV for Texas Tech.
Beard’s interest in the Texas Tech job stems from his longstanding ties to the program.
Beard’s five-year deal with UNLV was reportedly worth at least $900,000 next season and a minimum of $1.4 million by the fourth year. At the time, Beard said he was thrilled with the job. It was his first year as a head coach in Division I NCAA basketball. The coach has a reputation as a “journeyman”, but he is the flawless fit for Texas Tech and the Red Raiders are the ideal fit for him. After dealing with high expectations at Memphis, Josh Pastner was hired at Georgia Tech.
He became a candidate at Texas Tech on Thursday, when Tubby Smith left Lubbock to become the head coach at Memphis.
The Chris Beard era at UNLV did not last long.
“This unprecedented move is extremely disappointing to the [UNLV] President [Len Jessup] and I, for our program and to our fans”, Kunzer-Murphy wrote in a news release.
UNLV agreed Saturday to a deal to hire New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies to replace Beard.
Menzies spent 9 seasons at New Mexico State. Former football coach Tommy Tuberville spent three seasons looking like had taken the wrong exit off the interstate. The Rebels also could turn to Cal State Northridge coach Reggie Theus, a UNLV alum.
Whomever gets the job inherits a rebuild. The spring signing period began Wednesday and transfers and early draft declarations could leave UNLV with as many as 11 vacant scholarships for next season.
Those three are: Ben Carter, who tore his ACL in February, Jaylen Poyser and Tyrell Green.
Those who have knowledge of the negotiations said Menzies’ contract more closely follows guidelines regents helped establish and alleviates some concerns that were brought up when Beard’s contract was approved. He bolted for Texas Tech on Friday, returning to a school where he was an assistant for 10 years. Prior to taking the job at Arkansas-Little Rock in 2015, Beard served as the head coach for the South Carolina Warriors of the American Basketball Association (2011-2012), McMurry University (2012-2013) and Angelo State (2013-2015).