Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard walked into Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall for the first time this week.
But after spending seven years working under Bob Knight and a career spent watching film and broadcasts emanating from the iconic Bloomington arena, there was something eerily familiar about the place when the 48 year old Beard entered the 50 year old structure.
“I’ve been to a lot of cool places, today was the first time I’ve ever been in Assembly Hall, but it felt like I had been there before with all the studying coach Knight’s programs over the years,” Beard said in media availability from Bloomington on Wednesday. “Having a personal relationship with Pat (Knight) and coach (Bob Knight), hearing the stories, it’s almost like I kind of knew where I was when I walked in. It was kind of a weird feeling. The long championship banners. The pullout bleachers. I could just kind of imagine where coach was in all the practice film I’ve watched and things like that.”
“It’s just really cool that the whole thing is here and we get to play in cool venues. Assembly Hall, one of the more historic basketball venues in the history of our game. Then of course with my personal relationship and friendship with coach Knight and Pat (Knight), it makes it that much more special.”
Beard’s Red Raiders are in Bloomington to play a first round NCAA Tournament game against Utah State on Friday at 1:45 p.m. ET.
Already feeling a bond with Indiana’s home venue, Beard took it upon himself to give a quick tour.
“Before we touched the balls today and they started our time, we took a little bit of time and showed the guys the five national championship banners, the three of them that coach Knight won,” Beard said. “I explained to them the undefeated team in ’76, of course that’s what Gonzaga is trying to do this year. Just talked a little bit about the history, and you know our guys know who coach Knight is, obviously. But I think it was pretty cool just to see it.
“It’s obviously a historic venue and I thought our guys did a great job today kind of embracing it.”
Beard, who guided Texas Tech to the NCAA’s last national championship game in 2019, reached out to the Knight family to see if they might be his guest for the game on Friday.
“I actually talked to Pat yesterday, and we reached out to coach and (Bob Knight’s wife) Karen and checked to see if they’d want to come to the game or something.”
An appearance by the legendary coach would add just one more element of familiarity inside the building for Beard.
BEARD HAS NO COMMENT ON IU JOB OPENING
Widely believed to be a candidate for the vacant IU head coach position, Beard was asked by Zach Gelb on CBS Sports Radio on Wednesday about the IU job but he had no comment.
“I don’t talk about other jobs and I hope you respect that,” Beard said.
.@ZachGelb: "So if Indiana comes calling it's a thanks but no thanks?"
Chris Beard: "I don't talk about jobs, I hope you respect that."
— CBS Sports Radio (@CBSSportsRadio) March 18, 2021
To watch Beard’s full press conference from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall, GO HERE.
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