This is the third in a series of profiles of potential candidates for Indiana’s vacant basketball head coaching position.
Candidate: Chris Beard
Current Position/Tenure: Head coach at Texas Tech since 2016.
Previous Jobs: Head coach at Arkansas-Little Rock, 2015-16; Head coach at DII Angelo State 2013-15. Head coach at DIII McMurry 2012-13. Head coach of South Carolina Warriors in the ABA, 2011-12. Associate head coach at Texas Tech, 2001-11.
Accomplishments: Led Texas Tech to Big 12 title and NCAA title game in 2019 after Elite Eight appearance in 2018. Owns 111-54 record at Texas Tech. Led Arkansas-Little Rock to NCAA Tournament and first-round upset of Purdue in 2016.
Statistical Hallmarks: All six of his Division I teams have ranked in the top 60 in adjusted defensive efficiency. Three of his Texas Tech teams finished in the top 10, and the 2018-19 team finished No. 1. All five of his Texas Tech teams have finished in the top 50 of adjusted offensive efficiency. None of them have finished in the top 200 in tempo or 3-point attempts as a percentage of total field goal attempts.
Why It Might Work: If the Big Ten is the toughest conference in the country these days, the Big 12 is the second toughest and Beard has made the Red Raiders a front runner in it. Had there been an NCAA Tournament last season, this would be Beard’s fourth straight appearance with the Red Raiders. Before him, they had reached the event just once since 2006-07. They’re not exactly an up-and-down, run and gun team, but they do have a clear identity and it’s worked well enough to make them a tough out as a baseline and one of the toughest teams in the country at their best. His use of Mac McClung this season also makes clear he can attract scorers and is willing to let them go and create their own shots.
Why it Might Not Work/Not Happen: Beard would be really expensive. The six-year, $27.45 million contract he signed after reaching the title game in 2019 made him the third highest-paid college coach in the nation. He’s fourth now, with the only coaches ahead of him being John Calipari at Kentucky, Mike Krzyzewski at Duke and Jay Wright at Villanova. So prying Beard from Texas Tech would almost certainly require the Hoosiers to pay him at least $5 million per year and maybe $6 million after paying Archie Miller a touch under $3.5 million per year. And there’s a buyout of about $2.5 million, which seems like a drop in the bucket compared to the $10.35 million they owe Miller, but does add to an already large investment. Also, Beard, a Georgia native, has been in the South for his entire career and seems happy where he is out in northwest Texas in a city that’s over 200,000 in population but has some distance between Dallas, San Antonio and Houston. If he likes not having a lot of media and fan attention, Bloomington would be a tough sell.
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