Beard returns with good feelings, Tech fans feel betrayed | Wire Ap

Chris Beard fondly recalls enchiladas from a favorite spot, barbecue sandwiches at one of the oldest joints in town, and certainly that appearance at the NCAA National Championship game while at Texas Tech. .

Red Raiders fans only feel the betrayal of the coach who left Lubbock last year for their most hated rival, it doesn’t matter that Texas is his alma mater. And they looked forward to his return.

Beard makes his first visit as coach of the 23rd-ranked Longhorns on Tuesday night, three days after Texas Tech students were already camping to enter even before the end of the last game of the Red Raiders, ranked 14th. The game has been sold out for more than a month, and the cheapest upper-tier seats available in the secondary ticket market on Monday were $300.

While Beard tried to downplay his comeback, calling it the next game on the schedule and with many personal connections, he admitted he was unsurprised at the animosity towards him from those same fans who loved him not too long ago. There are.

“Partly, man. Change happens in life and change happens in sport,” Beard said. “No regrets. I think we left the job better than we found it. … No regrets at all. You know, I chose to go back to my alma mater and try this challenge, and we all have the right to make choices. And you know, that’s what we did.

Texas Tech and Texas have identical 16-5 records. Both are also 5-3 in the Big 12 heading into the game that will close the first half of their conference schedule.

The Red Raiders are 13-0 at home, including a win over Kansas, under freshman coach Mark Adams. Adams, 65, who was Beard’s top assistant and grew up about 40 miles from the Lubbock campus, stayed and got the job he had always dreamed of having at his alma mater.

There certainly won’t be the same kind of welcome in Lubbock for Beard as what Rick Barnes arrived in Austin o n Saturday night, when the coach who last took the Longhorns to the Final Four in 2003 paid a visit to his Tennessee squad. The Texas players wore warm-up shirts that read ‘Thank you, Coach Barnes’, and there was a pre-game video tribute to the coach who won a school-record 402 games in his 17 seasons before being dismissed in 2015.

Texas Tech taps legendary wrestler Ric Flair to make even more noise with an already excited fan base before and during the game.

“We understand it’s going to be a hostile environment, but we think we’re made for it,” said Timmy Allen, whose free throw six seconds from time was the difference for the Longhorns in a 52- 51 against Tennessee.

Beard, who was previously at Tech from 2001 to 2011 as associate head coach to Bob Knight and then Pat Knight, was 112-55 in his five seasons as head coach. The Red Raiders went to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2018, then a year later finished 31-7 with an overtime loss to Virginia in the national title game.

“I was there 15 years and gave it my all. I didn’t take a day off mentally or physically,” Beard said. “Our success together is real, it’s well documented.”

The Red Raiders have eight newcomers this season, including seven transfers to Division I. There are only four players who played for Beard last season, including stars Terrence Shannon and Kevin McCullar. One of the transfers, leading scorer Bryson Williams, played the last two seasons at UTEP for Rodney Terry, now Beard’s top assistant in Texas.

“A lot of respect for this program and this coach. …Together we have built an undeniable advantage on the pitch and we look forward to playing in this environment,” Beard said, adding that he wishes the Red Raiders only the best while respecting the fans and everyone in Lubbock. .

As for having the chance to enjoy enchiladas or BBQ sandwiches, that will probably have to wait for another time.

“I love the food in West Texas, in Lubbock,” Beard said. “It will be more of a business trip, so it will probably be another one of those soft, catered meals.”

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