Wild Day For College Basketball

Roy's done and Chris Beard heads to Texas.

Jim Rome
April 02, 2021 - 11:45 am
Roy Williams

USA Today

Categories: 

The Final Four starts tomorrow night, but yesterday was a wild day in college basketball. There was the announcement that Roy Williams would be stepping down at North Carolina.

And let’s not sleep on that just yet. I know North Carolina did not have a particularly North Carolina season this year, but when you’re talking about Roy Williams you’re talking about one of the all-time great head coaches in the history of college basketball. You’re talking about a guy who won more than 400 games at Kansas and then won nearly 500 at North Carolina.

You’re talking about a guy who won 9 regular season and 4 conference tournament titles at Kansas, and then won a combined 12 more at North Carolina. You’re talking about a guy who went to four Final Fours at Kansas and then went to five more at North Carolina, including three national titles.

He had one of the all-time great careers in college basketball history at Kansas and then had an even better career at North Carolina.

And he is the legend behind some of the all-time great locker room dances. And now he’s leaving. And one of the great jobs in all of sports is now open: head coach at UNC.

Another great job that had been open is now closed. The University of Texas got their man. And their man is Chris Beard.

And you could not get a better man for that job. He is a graduate of Texas. He was a student assistant under Tom Penders at Texas back in the day. And he is one hell of a basketball coach.

He was the dream HIRE. From the outset, I had said if I was in charge of the coaching search at Texas, my first call would be to Chris Beard. My second call would be to Chris Beard. My third call would be to Chris Beard.

I’d be texting him, DM’ing him, sending him telegrams, doing absolutely everything that I could to get him. And I say that knowing how much he loves Texas Tech and Lubbock. He was the King of Lubbock. So it wasn’t just a matter of Texas picking up the phone and Chris Beard would come running.

No wonder the Texas basketball twitter account was fired up with retweets from TJ Ford and Matthew McConaughey. And why they rolled out the burnt orange carpet and were tweeting videos of Beard arriving for his press conference. This is a huge hire for Texas.

Because you are getting a guy who won a Big 12 title and went to the national championship game at Texas Tech. He was national coach of the year in 2019 and a two-time Big 12 coach of the year. He had multiple All-Americans at Texas Tech. He had 13 all-Big 12 players in 5 years there. He had a ton of success at a place that people used to think you couldn’t have success.

And by the way, I get why folks at Texas Tech would be bummed out that Beard is gone. Because he was perfect there. You never want to see a guy who’s that good leave for some other school, especially one that’s in the same state and the same conference.

So I get why Texas Tech would be bent. That sucks. It really does.

But at the same time, it’s his alma mater. You can’t compete with that. That’s not disrespect to Texas Tech or Lubbock, that’s just a fact. Far from it. Again, I spent time with him there: Chris Beard freakily loves Lubbock: and Tech: fact. And let me give you another fact: he’s not jamming you by leaving: but when the alma mater calls, and the alma mater is Texas, it’s pretty much impossible to say no.

If you know this show, you know this is a big Chris Beard house. Having watched him coach, having spent time with him, both on the radio show and in person that is a stock that I would pour a ton of money into. I’m not sure that any hire is ever a slam dunk, but if ever there was a slam dunk, it’s Chris Beard to Texas.

But just because Chris Beard being named head coach of Texas makes total sense today, does not mean that you should overlook the incredible journey this guy has made.

This is a guy who was an assistant at Texas back in the day. And then at stops along the way like Abilene Christian and North Texas. Then he was the head coach at Fort Scott Community College followed by Seminole State College in Oklahoma.

Then he went back to being an assistant coach at Texas Tech, and then head coach of the South Carolina Warriors in the ABA and then McCurry University, Angelo State, Little Rock, Texas Tech, and now Texas.

That does not happen. That is an impossible ride. How does a guy who was coaching at Fort Scott Community College not that long ago and McCurry University even more recently than that, take over at Texas today? If you wrote that in a movie, that wouldn’t be believable.  

As he has said, he’s not a show dog. He’s a street dog. He’s battled and fought at every stop. And he’s going to bring that intensity to Austin.

And now you put him in Austin, Texas, with the resources that come with being the head coach at Texas, including a new arena opening next year, and look the hell out. The roster at Texas is probably going to need some work before next year, so I’m not going to put a timeline on things. And I’m not going to make predictions.

But I’m just going to say this again: look the hell out. Not just to the rest of the Big 12, but to the rest of the country. Ok. I’ll make one prediction. Him winning a national championship there isn’t a question of if, but a matter of when. And here’s another: he’s going to make Texas a basketball school.