A CONVERSATION WITH...

How Chris Beard Brought Texas Basketball Back

“We want to establish an identity to Texas basketball where the fans know they’re going to see a hard-playing team that plays the right way,” the Longhorns coach tells Boardroom.

It didn’t take long for Chris Beard, who was named head coach at the University of Texas on April 2, to completely transform the Longhorns roster.

He brought with him top-50 prospect Jaylon Tyson, who had originally committed to play for Beard at Texas Tech. Then, Beard began working the transfer market. And working. And working. All told, the 2021-22 Longhorns will have eight transfers on the team, led by Marcus Carr (Minnesota) and Tre Mitchell (UMass). Together, this new unit makes for a top-five team in college basketball — at least according to the preseason AP and Coaches polls.

Beard has yet to coach a game in Austin, but he’s done everything he could so far to prove he’s worth the massive contract he signed:

  • The University of Texas will pay Beard $5 million a year for the next seven seasons in base pay.
  • He can earn an additional $850,000 in performance bonuses.
  • The school also gave him two cars, private plane access, and a $250,000 moving allowance, according to hookem.com.

So, how did Beard manage to assemble some of the best transfers from around the country, bring in a high-impact freshman, and keep two of the Longhorns’ top three scorers from last year? He managed to sell them on his brand of positionless, NBA-style basketball.

Beard used Kevin Durant as an example of why he has a hard time defining positions for his players.

“I’ve never really understood the position deal,” he said. “To me, what is KD? Is he a 3? 4? I know this: If I had a chance to coach KD, he’d have the ball in his hands in the last four minutes of the game. So he’d be my point guard. If I was trying to post somebody up coming out of a timeout, he’d be my post man. And certainly, he can guard all five positions.”

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Beard is more concerned with developing an identity for Texas basketball — one where players and fans can expect the team to contend for championships.

“We want to establish a culture,” he said. “We want to establish an identity to Texas basketball where the fans, the student body, the people that come to the games know they’re going to see a hard-playing team that plays the right way. Plays unselfish.”

The new-look Longhorns get started on Tuesday night with a home game against Houston Baptist. That will serve as their tuneup for a must-see game on Saturday against Gonzaga in Spokane.