Apr 2, 2021
Chris Beard First Press Conference as UT Head Basketball Coach Transcript April 2
Chris Beard held his first press conference as the head coach of men’s basketball at the University of Texas on April 2, 2021. Read the transcript of the briefing here.
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Chris Del Conte: (09:21)
[inaudible 00:09:21] incredible basketball coach and better person. And on that flight on the way back here, I sat there and just [inaudible 00:09:28] staff, hugging, talking, his fiance, Randi, just talking about what it meant and what they built there…
Chris Del Conte: (09:50)
Beard. We got the very best. I can’t thank you and your family for coming here. Welcome to the University of Texas. Prodigal son returns. I like to introduce you to the head basketball coach, Christopher Beard. Come on up here, sir.
Chris Beard: (10:09)
Chris Del Conte: (10:12)
We’re supposed to give you a Jersey.
Chris Beard: (10:15)
Chris Del Conte: (10:17)
[inaudible 00:10:17]I don’t think you want to wear that.
Chris Beard: (10:21)
Chris Del Conte: (10:22)
All right, brother. [inaudible 00:10:23].
Chris Del Conte: (10:22)
Chris Beard: (11:02)
[inaudible 00:11:02] Texas and how we’re going to get to a Monday night game sooner than later. The expectations and the in the opportunity [inaudible 00:11:11] showed me a picture of Coach Reese and the 15 national championships. Appreciate Coach Reese being here today. That’s exactly the opportunity that I was looking for. Expectations don’t scare me. [inaudible 00:11:24] I’m here. Proud to be back. And I want to thank everybody that possible. I just want to thank my mom and dad, same two people that years and years ago dropped me off at the University of Texas. I’s an emotional day. I wish my mom and dad could be here, but obviously with the COVID-19, there’s challenges for all of us, but I want to recognize my parents today. Also want to recognize a key member of my family, [Brett Just 00:11:52], and everything that he did to make this possible, Brett is family.
Chris Beard: (11:58)
If you guys allow me just one second, CDC mentioned my connection and proud experience at Texas Tech and I want to make sure that I think Chancellor Mitchell, President Schovanec, Director of Athletics, Kirby Hocutt, Tony Hernandez, Dusty Womble. I could talk all day about my time at Texas Tech. Just simply stated, it was the most difficult decision in my life to leave a place where we had an amazing five-year run from where we started all the way to an overtime game on the final Monday night. To me, those relationships are real and I’ll always be appreciative and grateful for my time in Lubbock, Texas. Above all, I want to thank all the players at Texas Tech. College basketball is about players, period. Without players, there’s no college basketball, there’s no coaches. Without students, there’s no universities, like the great University of Texas.
Chris Beard: (12:50)
So I want to thank all my players at Texas Tech for their buy-in and everything that we accomplished together, as well as our players along the way, certainly at Little Rock and Angelo State McMurry and South Carolina, Fort Scott, Seminole, all the places along the way. Guys, I appreciate it. I wish we could all be together today, our basketball family, but again, the COVID-19 a lot of challenges for all of us. Lastly with Texas Tech, I’m proud to be associated with Coach Knight and Pat Knight. I wouldn’t be standing here today with this opportunity if I wouldn’t have had really a break of my lifetime having a chance to be with Coach Bob Knight and Pat. You guys know how I feel about you. Thank you, coach. Let’s just get to it, man. Let’s start having some fun here. University of Texas, I’ve gotten a lot of calls for the last couple of days. It’s still happening really fast. The thing that kept coming up over and over is Texas. Man, those expectations, those standards, the urgency of what’s going on there, the timeliness, got to get it done quickly. Do you understand? Let me be really clear here. I understand the standards of the University of Texas. I understand-
Chris Beard: (14:03)
[inaudible 00:14:00] I understand the standards of the University of Texas. I understand where our men’s basketball program is going to be, and needs to be, and deserves to be. Those expectations and standards don’t scare me. Don’t get it twisted; it’s the reason that I’m here today, is the expectations and the standards and where this program needs to be, and will be sooner than later. This program is a Monday night program; when we got some work to do to get there, but I’m not afraid to talk about it from day one. That’s the game that we’re trying to get to, and everything that we do, beginning last night, and today, when we get done with this press conference, will be about restoring us and getting us to the level where we can compete for national championships.
Chris Beard: (14:43)
How are we going to get it done? Simply two things we got to do; we got to unite the Texas basketball family. When Texas basketball is united, it is powerful. It is the best. It is a beast. It can’t be stopped. We’ve got to embrace the past players, past coaches. We’ve got to get everybody back under the same umbrella, all striving for the same things. In that embracing the past, I want to recognize the history of Texas basketball. Certainly in my lifetime, beginning with Coach Black. I know Coach Black has supported this program like no other. Row five, I believe is where he sits. When I was with Coach [Penders 00:15:25], we enjoyed that. When I was coaching against Texas, I didn’t enjoy Coach Black sitting on a row five, but certainly Coach Black, his family, all the players from that generation; you’re wanted you’re needed, please come back to Austin.
Chris Beard: (15:38)
Coach [Lemons 00:15:39] was a coaching hero of mine; a fascinating coach known for his wit and humor and a kind of person he was, but a big time basketball coach. I’ve studied his teams. Anybody that played for Coach Lemons. Coach Lemons is family. I know Coach is in heaven watching this today. We want everybody back at Texas. Then certainly was Coach [Wetland 00:15:59] out of a relationship with Coach Wetland because of my relationship with Coach Knight, foundation that he laid here at Texas and all the players. Certainly got an amazing phone call last night from Mike Wacker, heard from so many Texas players the last couple of days and hours, anybody in the Coach Wetland time, we need you back. And then Coach Penders, I’m proud to be Coach Penders. I was a five-year red shirt point guard for Coach Penders. I was open all the time, but BJ and [inaudible 00:16:34], and those guys wouldn’t throw me the ball, except for the summertime, when we were in the rec center.
Chris Beard: (16:38)
I’m proud of my start. I cut my teeth and coaching under Vic [inaudible 00:16:43] and Eddie [inaudible 00:16:44] and Coach Penders. Coach P you know I love you. Can’t wait to get you back to Austin; I know you’re in Miami today. All my teammates, all the guys that I was here with at Texas, can’t wait to get all you guys back together. We’re going to get everybody under the same umbrella. The power of this program is undeniable when we do that. Got a personal relationship with Coach Barnes, respect him so much compete against him. When I was an assistant. Coach Barnes’ teams were exactly the way we’re going to win at Texas: grit, toughness, hard work, and an obviously talented, talented players. The best players in the NBA is what we need, but we want to keep that edge, and that chip, to me, what Texas is.
Chris Beard: (17:24)
Currently after Coach Barnes, I want to recognize my friend [Shaka 00:17:28]; I had a chance to talk to shock to this morning. When I think of Shake Smart, I think a class, I have a friendship with Shaka, and enjoyed competing against him, and wish him the best of luck and his new opportunity at Marquette, and thank him for the foundation, and the positive things that we inherit today. I wanted to recognize Shaka and all the players that played for Shaka. When I talked to those coaches, I’m really talking to the players through the coaches. Again, plan one is to unite, Texas basketball family. Get everybody back on the same page. When we do this, we all know that this power is second to none.
Chris Beard: (18:04)
As we unite this, the second thing is, and I’ve already mentioned it; college basketball is about one thing, it’s the players. Players are number one, players are number two, players are number three, and I can keep going. This thing is all about players, and so as we ignite the fan base, the former players, everybody here to make this engine and machine the most powerful in college basketball again, it’s all about the players, if we ignite that. I want to mention this right off the bat too; I need your help. I’ve never been a guy that’s afraid to ask for help. I don’t think I have all the answers. I have no pride when it comes to asking for people to help, and I think it’s very important that this very first conversation that we’re having, Longhorn basketball family; we’ve got to create a home court advantage. We’ve got to make the Frank Erwin Center this year, the toughest place to play in college basketball, and I am going to work tirelessly, and my role is to make that happen, but I’m going to need your help. We’re going to need student attendance to increase and improve, and I look forward to the challenge, and the opportunity that. I’m very confident that we will be able to get that done. But a home court advantage it’s so important and it’s worth mentioning today, as we get started.
Chris Beard: (19:14)
Speaking of needing help, always been a guy that really enjoys my relationships with other coaches. I appreciate several of the Texas head coaches being here today. I had a chance to spend some time with Coach [Sark 00:19:24] yesterday. I appreciate him and his wife coming by. Those of you that know me, know that I’m a huge college football guy. I appreciated Coach Sark reaching out, and I look forward to being right there hand-in-hand with Texas football. Texas football we’ll have no bigger supporter or fan than me, my family, and our staff. I think there’s strength when, when, when the sports went at a high level of together, and we will do our part in men’s basketball and we will support everyone else on this campus.
Chris Beard: (19:52)
Who are we? This is easy to talk about. Discipline. We believe in toughness, physically and mental. We have a confidence about us, where we respect everyone and we don’t have entitlement, but we fear no one either. No one is better than us. We’re the University of Texas. We’re going to play the game the right way. We’re going to embrace the educational piece of being a student athlete, this university. We know the men’s basketball program is one small part of the university. We’re going to play our role. We’re going to be an unselfish team. We’re going to value the things that are right. We’re going to tell the truth. We’re going to represent what’s on the front of our jersey: Texas, more than what’s on the back of our jersey: individual people.
Chris Beard: (20:38)
I could talk all day about basketball, and I know there’ll be a time to do that, but simply stated, with basketball, the common thing for a coach, “What’s your philosophy? What’s your style of play?” I’ll be really clear here, our style of play and our philosophy is one thing: winning. And we’re going to do what it takes to win. We’re going to play the right way, but the basketball piece is going to be so fun as we build this, again, with two things in mind: uniting the Texas basketball family, getting everybody back together, and then two, understanding every day, from the time I get up early in the morning, until the time I go to bed early in the morning, it’s all about the players. Players, players, players.
Chris Beard: (21:15)
With that, before I open us up for any questions, I wanted to tell you something that’s kind of been with me, my whole coaching career that’s really important, and I wrote it down and make sure that I [inaudible 00:21:25]. But I saw this at a young age when I was cutting my teeth in coaching. The University of Texas winning tradition and pride will not be entrusted to the timid or weak. I can tell you how proud and excited I am, I promise you, I’m a lot of things, but timid and weak are not two of those things. I understand the standards and expectations of this program. I’m not running from it. I’m not scared of it. It is the reason I’m here. We are going to win at the highest level. We’re going to win sooner than later. I look forward to everybody in this room, and everybody on the Zoom today, joining us on a Monday night in the near future when we’re playing the last game of the college basketball season. [inaudible 00:08:08]
Speaker 1: (22:12)
Thank you, Coach. Appreciate that. We’ll go ahead and go to questions now. Please keep it to one question each. We have a bunch of them to go through. So we’ll start with Brian Davis.
Brian Davis: (22:23)
Hey Chris, congratulations.
Chris Beard: (22:24)
Brian Davis: (22:27)
Yeah, from my reading of the tea leaves, it does not appear that this had anything to do about money. Tech and Texas could basically pay the same thing when it came down to it, so what in your mind makes Texas a better job than Texas Tech right now?
Chris Beard: (22:48)
First of all, Brian, sorry, I couldn’t respond to the 1600 text messages. I think we all know kind of how this still works, but I have a lot of respect for you; it’s good to see you again.
Brian Davis: (22:57)
Chris Beard: (22:58)
Mentioned the same thing to other media members; appreciate you guys patience in this process. I’ll look forward to working with all of you. You were correct; I don’t coach for money, I coach to win. I want to win championships. I want our players to win. To me, that’s graduation, that’s winning in life. I’m all about one thing: winning. I did wait to make that comment until after I signed the contract, so I did get a little bit of money on this. I’m fortunate and blessed; I don’t coach for money, I coach to win. You know, why Texas? First, I’ll say this again, it was one of the most difficult decisions in my life for what we built at Texas Tech. I have nothing but respect, and love for that place. But to me, I live my life with a philosophy of no regrets, and to have a chance to coach at the University of Texas, where this challenge and opportunity, and the power of this institution, and fan base, and history, and tradition, when these things combine with the hunger that I have, and our staff will have, and the players that we have exhibit, when these things combined, special can happen. To me, special is Monday night.
Speaker 1: (24:20)
Roger Wallace, go ahead.
Roger Wallaca: (24:22)
Hey Chris, the one thing that always comes up with you is the way your kids play, how hard they play; how do you get kids to play in a manner that maybe other teams can’t match when it comes to that?
Chris Beard: (24:34)
I appreciate that question. For us, it starts in the recruiting process. We’re going to recruit the best players in the world. Certainly we’re going to start right here in the state of Texas, my home state. We’re going to branch out to the United States of America, we’re going to recruit the best players in the world to be here. We’re not messing around, that’s why I’m here. In terms of our guys, so it starts in the recruiting process. I don’t think I have a magic wand. We don’t recruit this very, very talented player that’s not known for playing hard, but he has all the other attributes; we look for guys that understand this deal’s all about competing and playing hard. Doesn’t mean we can’t shape some guys, and help some guys understand a different level of energy and motor, but it starts with kind of our identity is, we’re going to play hard, and we’re going to do it every possession of every game, no matter what the scoreboard says.
Chris Beard: (25:34)
How we get it done, I’m a relationship coach, I’m a relationship recruiter. I think you can get people and players to do things that maybe they don’t even think they can do, when you can coach them. And when you can coach them hard. And how do you coach guys hard? You’ve got to have a relationship. And I think, it sounds simple, but it takes a lot of work. Relationships start with trust, and there’s a lot of trust in this room right now, but our relationships are young. I will earn the thrust of this fan base. I will earn the trust of our players and our current roster. I will earn the trust of the people that trust us with their college careers here. Once we have the trust, relationships are formed. Once relationships are formed, anything can happen, including playing harder than any team in college basketball.
Speaker 1: (26:17)
[inaudible 00:26:17] you’re up.
Yeah Chris, congratulations. I was curious either at that meeting in Plainview before or after, was there a moment, kind of a light bulb moment where you said, “Yeah, I made my decision. I’m going to Texas”? And was there was something that triggered that during that process, or did you know all along, you were leaning that direction?
Chris Beard: (26:47)
Hey, Chuck, I don’t know if there was a one moment. Definitely wasn’t leaning in any direction. I’m a guy, I probably live with my feet are; the most important job I’ve ever had is the job I have, the most important day I’ve ever had is today, the most important possession that we have either offensively or defensively is the possession that’s going on right now. So this deal happened fast. When [Shaka 00:27:14] got his latest opportunity. I know there’s a lot of speculation, but my feet were exactly where they were; they were at Texas Tech doing our work. When I first heard from CDC and I want to get my days right, we talked one evening and then I respected the timeline. Chris has an urgency that I share, and I think the relationship that I have with CDC is going to be special. And I think, one word you could put next to the both of us, just with “Urgency” to get things done. And so, the communication from the phone turned into an in face meeting the next morning in Plainview, a place that I really liked. I liked Plainview. I didn’t have a chance to show Chris around. Much more than McDonald’s in Plainview. I promise. Wayland Baptist, a lot of basketball tradition there. But no, once we got together, it just clicked.
Chris Beard: (28:03)
But no, Once we got together, it just clicked. Again, it’s the expectations. It’s the accountability. It’s the pressure. I love the word pressure. Pressure to me is a good word. I tell my daughters, “Live with pressure.” It’s a pleasure to have pressure. I did spelt it certainly there’s a connection here. I went to school at Texas. I’m a proud graduate. Everything just kind of clicked. And I knew this was going to be the right decision, a difficult decision to tell people that I respect and love at Texas Tech, but this is life. And to me, life’s about opportunities, and I intend to make the most of this one.
Speaker 2: (28:46)
[inaudible 00:28:46], go ahead.
Speaker 3: (28:46)
Coach, you sound very positive about winning quickly here, and there’s no reason not to consider your previous stop. But what is it about the Texas job that gives you such realistic based hope that you can not only replicate it, but maybe even win that Monday night game in short order?
Chris Beard: (29:04)
Well, it starts with our current players. There’s a lot going on with golf basketball right now with this deal called the portal. You might’ve heard of it. Look, every time we competed against Texas and shock us teams, and I’d walk out that floor with respect for the talent level of the team. And you just kind of say to yourself as a coach, “It’s a common thing. I could coach those guys.” We walked off the floor years ago against Michigan State. I’d like to coach guys like that. When you play Kansas, I’d like to coach a guy like that. And it’s the same feeling with this past year and this current Texas roster. There are NBA players on this roster. There’s winners. There’s guys with some heart.
Chris Beard: (29:44)
I’m from Texas. The best high school coaches in the country are right here. The best grass root guys right here in Texas. Five connections for some of those guys to some of the current Texas players. The players are my top priority. None of this is ideal right now with the COVID-19 and COVID. A lot of the players aren’t in Austin right now, which I certainly understand, the classes being online and the season’s ending recently. But I had a chance to, in a team setting, to meet the players, reaching out to guys individually. And today, it’s my top priority.
Chris Beard: (30:18)
When we end here, take a couple pictures, I’m going to go get myself where I can do. What’s most important right now is the current players and current roster. So why my confidence that we can win immediately? It starts with the talent on the roster. And I’m going to do the best I can to keep those guys here if they want to be here and if they understand that we’re trying to win a national championship now, not when the new arena’s built, not down the line, but no, let let’s strive for it now.
Chris Beard: (30:47)
I don’t know why you would ever work to try to do something in the future. Like I tell players, I don’t know if you’re a one and done. You don’t know if you’re a one and done. But I’m going to coach you every day like you’re one and done, and I want you to come in here and work like you’re one and done. And then you run your own race and those things are in God’s hands and we’ll see what’ll happen. I feel the same way about here. This will not be a rebuild. This will not be a first year doesn’t matter, put an asterisk on it. You can quote me on that. These will be my guys that are on the team. It won’t be, well, the coach gets his own guys in here. That’s just not how we roll. We’re going to win. We’re going win the right way and we’re going to win with urgency.
Speaker 2: (31:27)
Carlos, you’re up
Hey, Chris, yesterday, Kirby had mentioned that there was a lifetime rolling contract that was offered pre all this and just trying to be a little proactive. I guess, what led you to not decide to make that commitment at that time?
Chris Beard: (31:42)
Carlos, we were still playing during the season. And when we’re playing college basketball, my feet are where my feet are. I have people that I trust and love that have my back to go through those kinds of processes but I would never do that while the team was still playing. When the team ended, I had some conversations, and the timeline is what it is. So I’ve nothing but respect and appreciation for Kirby and that staff. I think somebody’s true character comes out in different times. And I’ll be really clear here right here, I’m appreciative of Kirby Hocutt.
Speaker 2: (32:24)
John Ha, how you’re up.
John Ha: (32:26)
Coach, CDC welcome you as the greatest coach in America. Do you feel like you are? And what makes you so different?
Chris Beard: (32:35)
I’ll put like he’s the greatest athletic director in America. If I felt any different, I shouldn’t be here. We’re doing this. I’m here, and left a lot to come here. Something that we built that was special. You guys know, I’m here, and one of the main reasons I’m here is CDC. So I think he’s the best athletic director in the country. A lot of our relationships start with trust, but I can’t wait to get this thing rolling. The ADD is kicking in a little bit. I keep thinking about, I got a call about six recruits when I get out of here and talk to these current players. My mind is shifting to winning. I apologize. Can you repeat the question?
John Ha: (33:20)
Well, just what makes you so different, makes you the guy?
Chris Beard: (33:31)
University of Texas winning tradition and pride will not be entrusted to the timid or weak. I’m not timid, I’m not weak. I understand exactly what we’re getting into here. I’m proud. I’m excited. I’m happy. I couldn’t sleep last night just because I can’t wait to get started. I enjoy these press conferences after we win big games and I get to sit next to one of our best players. It’s one of my favorite things in coaching, sitting there next to a guy. When we won the Big 12 championship, I had my man, [inaudible 00:33:59], right there next to me. I’ll never forget that. So these press conferences are good. And no district to everybody here, I’m having a pretty good time right now, but I can’t wait to end this so I can get back to what I love, and that’s recruiting, coaching, developing relationships, and winning.
Chris Beard: (34:14)
Why am I different? I don’t think I’m better than anybody. I was raised with a sense of no entitlement and humility, but also have a confidence that I’ve earned to have through the work that myself and players and staff have done over the years. We fear no one. We don’t think we’re better than anybody. We’re going to have that University of Texas swagger and confidence, but we’re going to have a humbleness to us that allows us to win at the highest level as well.
Speaker 2: (34:41)
Kirk Bowls, go ahead.
Kirk Bowls: (34:43)
Yeah, Chris, congratulations, first of all. I know you have a philosophy of life to get old and stay old as a basketball team with experience. And how do you reconcile that, as far as recruiting high school seniors and getting grad transfers? And are you open any Texas Tech players transfer in here?
Chris Beard: (35:03)
It’s good to see you, Kirk. Respects off the charts that. I think you know that. No doubt about it, college basketball has changed in my opinion. Again, the portal, the new NCAA rules. So a lot of things are going on. I really think the game has changed. We’ll kind of see where it is. We’ve always tried to stay ahead of the curve a little bit and anticipate things that are coming. And I’m confident that we’re right where we need to be understanding how the landscape of college basketball is changing. I do think there’s a relationship between experience and winning. I think that we’ve executed that as well as anybody in college basketball. This league, the Big 12, I’m very familiar with, obviously. So we’re going to try to stay old, but we’re also going to embrace the talent the young players can do.
Chris Beard: (35:54)
I’m a proud coach of several recent one and dones. Some of the best players that played at the University of Texas were guys that made it to the NBA quickly. So I just appreciate all that. You mentioned last night, some of the relationships. I hesitate on mentioning individual things, because you don’t want to leave anybody out, but when TJ Ford shows up that last night and drives into Houston… I get choked up on this one too, because it just meant the world to me, having watched TJ as a high school player, an AAU player, an NBA player, competing against him when I was sitting next to coach Knight. And for TJ to spend the time and resources to come here and support us, that was an emotional deal for me. And I want to thank TJ. I think he’s here this morning as well. But I think, yes, we’re going to stay old, but we’re not afraid to put five TJ Fords out there. I don’t care if they’re 16 years old, you’ll beat anybody in college basketball.
Speaker 2: (36:51)
Chip Brown. Go ahead,
Chip Brown: (36:53)
Chris, welcome. Congratulations. I was talking to Tom Penders and he had memories of you sitting up in the front of the bus on the team trips listening to the coaches and sitting in some cubby hole next to his office cutting up film. What memories stand out to you from your days as a student assistant at Texas, and as you said, your first taste of coaching?
Chris Beard: (37:19)
Yeah, I appreciate you mentioning that. I’m proud of my journey. I’m proud of my path. I’m proud to be a graduate of the University of Texas. And Coach Penders and his staff, EO and Beck and those guys were great to me, treating me like I had no right to be treated. And what’s really been special with the relationship that I’ve developed with Coach Penders since my time, most recently in Lubbock where he would come spend time and travel with our team some. When I think about Coach Penders, I think of a swagger second to none, a confidence, a guy that was built for a job like Texas. I’ve worked my whole life to get to a stage like this. I think I have, I don’t think, I know, that I have the same kind of Coach Penders ingredients in me that will allow us to be successful here. I appreciate you asking about Coach Penders.
Chris Beard: (38:14)
All the text messages to guys, people that I know, and all the people that are coming in from the Texas Basketball family, I can’t tell you how much all this means to me. Having a chance to communicate with Kevin Durant’s family, not him directly yet, but the respect’s off the charts. I can tell you our staff’s going to be the best in college basketball. And we’re going to have a special emphasis of getting some past Texas people on his staff to help connect the dots. Again, back to my twofold plan, unite the Texas Basketball family, and players, players, players. And again, just guys like, we mentioned TJ Ford and Kevin Durant, but I can’t wait to get in there, Royal Ivey, I got to have a lot of respect, for just the toughness and the grit of players like Royal. This is how we’re going to build this thing.
Speaker 2: (39:05)
Setter Golden, go ahead.
Setter Golden: (39:08)
Hey, Chris. Congratulations. You guys came in here a couple of years ago and won a close game. And afterwards I asked you, “Was this a culture win?” And you said, “Yes, it was.” And how long does it take to establish your culture in a program?
Chris Beard: (39:29)
Yeah, culture’s kind of the buzzword now, right? I went to Texas so I know how to spell culture, but what is culture? Culture is who you are. Culture is who you are when no one’s looking. Culture is what you’re all about in the good times and the bad times. Culture has to be real to me to be defined as a culture. Ours is all based on the things I mentioned early, unselfishness, toughness, discipline, talent. But above all, you have to have relationships to have a culture. And that’s why I’ll be forever grateful for all the teams that we had, most recently at Texas Tech, Little Rock before. Because I do think that we have had, no disrespect to anyone else, I think we’ve had the best culture in college basketball, and I believe that somebody might’ve had one as strong, but nobody’s had a stronger culture than we have in recent years. How these things exist, the relationships, once you have relationships, you can take a group of people, places where maybe you couldn’t go by yourselves. And that’s how we won at Texas Tech. And that’ll be a key way that we win here.
Speaker 2: (40:40)
Mr. McComas, go ahead.
Mr. McComas: (40:42)
Hey Chris, congratulations. You mentioned the portal and also culture as well. What allowed you to have so much success in terms of turning your roster over and being able to ingrain that culture right away and win right away? As you know, right now, there’s a lot of roster turnover in college basketball. That’s something that you’re going to face here as well. But why are you guys so successful at getting a grad transfer, or a four year player, or a one and done type of player, melding all those guys together?
Chris Beard: (41:11)
Yeah, I think specifically it’s always kind of been in my comfort zone and what I’m used to with rosters turning over. Started my background in small college basketball, junior college basketball. I had two professional experiences, one in South Carolina here in the States and one in Switzerland in Euro basket, and certainly at the highest level in the Big 12 and college basketball. But seeing it’s just what I’ve been used to. I’m used to teams changing from time to time. So when college basketball has changed grad transfer rules a couple of years ago, most recently the portal, in my opinion, the game is changing, it’s never been out of my comfort zone. It’s always been something that I’m experienced with. I’m a guy that wants to win. Again, I have a vision for the future, but I don’t sit around thinking about day two, year three, year four, I think about today. And I think to win immediately, you have to-
Chris Beard: (42:03)
And I think to win, immediately you have to have an urgency, and you have to have an expectation. That’s what we’re trying to do, and I’m not afraid of that. I believe that successful people understand urgency and how to get things done, and that’s one thing that we’ve always been able to get done. So, as college basketball changes now with the portal, guys coming and leaving and stuff, we’re ready for this. And we’re not sitting around thinking about, “Hey, what are we supposed to do?” We already have a plan, and now it’s time to execute the plan.
Speaker 4: (42:32)
Time for a few last questions. Go ahead, Jeff Jones.
Jeff Jones: (42:36)
Coach, can you take me back to leaving that McDonald’s in Plainview yesterday? Who was the first person you reached out to, and what was that conversation like?
Chris Beard: (42:42)
That was a tough drive, because I had about 40 minutes to take a lot of things in. Number one, spend some time on myself. I got a family, but it’s been me a lot of this time. I was blessed enough to meet my fiance, Randy, who is my rock now in everything. I better get this right, man. Four years ago? Good. Then my daughters are my life, and certainly my coaching mentor, so there’s some people that I needed to call. But above all, spend some time on myself, just kind of coming to grasp this is what we’re about to do, and getting excited about it.
Chris Beard: (43:36)
Then first phone call, to answer your question specifically, was to Randy, my three daughters, and my mom and dad. I thought about calling a LaMarcus Aldridge real quick too and saying, “Hey, man, you might not remember me, I’ve seen you play a lot, but can you help me get this thing started?” But I thought I better call my mom and dad before I called Terrence Rencher or LaMarcus Aldridge.
Speaker 4: (43:58)
Got time for two last ones. Nick Moyle, go ahead.
Nick Moyle: (44:04)
Hey, Chris, congrats. I’m just curious over the last five or six years what your perception was of Texas, from the outside looking in? And then just for you, what are the most important first steps as you try to mold this program in your image now?
Chris Beard: (44:20)
Can you ask it one more time?
Nick Moyle: (44:24)
Yeah, just from the outside looking in, what was your perception of this Texas program over the last five, six years? And then for you, what are your first steps toward molding this Texas program in your image now?
Chris Beard: (44:37)
Yeah. Outside looking in, nothing but respect. Shaka is somebody that I have the ultimate respect for. Again, I’d mentioned that I actually talked to him earlier this morning. I think if you look up class in the dictionary, you’re going to see a lot of people, and I think Shaka is going to be in that list. So, Shaka, thank you for the foundation that you laid here most recently, and best of luck at Marquette. So nothing but respect from the outside looking in. An appreciation and a respect for these players and how talented they are. This is a group that won the Big 12 Championship in Kansas City just a few weeks ago. One of those games was on a questionable call from where I was sitting, but that’s over. We got to move on from that.
Chris Beard: (45:25)
I asked Coleman after the game, we had a walk in the hallway after the game. College basketball is kind of cool, you have these random moments with people, like you pull up in a parking lot and there’s a Roy Williams from Kansas there. You have a chance to talk walking through the gym, and this special connection as we are coming off that game, Texas won that game, so we were a little disappointed. But ran into Matt in the hallway and kind of walked down the hallway. And I see Matt looked back at coach, “Respect.” Absolutely, man. I say “Hey, if you don’t mind me asking, we’ve been competing here against you a couple of years, I’d like to think we’ve got a little bit of relationship.”
Chris Beard: (46:02)
He goes, “Yeah, coach, no question, man.” “Did you get fouled on that last one, man. Was it really a foul?” So of course from his point of view, being a very top smart, intelligent player, that’s at the university of Texas, he said, “Absolutely I got fouled.” So I respected that answer. But I think the plan immediately is the players here, the most important thing are the guys on this roster right now, our roster. I look forward to reaching out to those guys and basically developing a relationship, listening a lot more than I talk, and just trying to figure out where everybody is right now. The COVID 19, that’s doing this and all this stuff, present challenges, but I’ve had a lot of challenges in my life and I’m pretty good at it being successful in challenges.
Speaker 4: (46:51)
Last one, Steven Wagner, go ahead.
Steven Wagner: (46:54)
Hey Chris, congratulations again. One of the biggest things that you were really well known for at Texas Tech was having tournament success. You’re coming to a place that hasn’t won a tournament game in quite some time. This is a fan base that’s really, really hungry to have tournament wins. What has been your biggest key to having success in the NCAA tournament, and what needs to change to get Texas winning again?
Chris Beard: (47:26)
Yeah, one of the main reasons I’m here is the hunger of this fan base and the challenge and the opportunity that lies ahead. Where we are right now and where we have to be in the near, near future, and I’m up to the challenge of being the caretaker of this program. I don’t take it lightly and I’ll do everything in my power every day to get this done.
Chris Beard: (47:45)
I would say in terms of a hunger from the fan base, nobody can match my hunger. I love being around people that have high expectations and I love challenges and I love proving people wrong, quickly. And so, it starts with that. What has to take place is we’ve got to develop a home court advantage. We’ve got to get everybody back under the same umbrella of Texas basketball, no matter who you played for and when you played here. Texas basketball family is powerful. Second to none when we’re united. And we got to get that back.
Chris Beard: (48:17)
I studied coaches as a kid. A lot of people watch TV and play video games. I studied coaches and winning, and chase players. And I think Mack Brown said it best, he’s talked about the Texas and the power, and the BB’s. We got to get the BB’s back in the box. We got to get it all together. When it’s together and it shoots, nothing can beat it. So I share that. So what has to be done is, again, the two-fold plan here. We’ve got to get everybody back together. We have to unite Texas basketball family. When we do that, it’s as powerful as any college basketball program in the country.
Chris Beard: (48:51)
Number two more importantly, players, players, players. So when we get these things rolling, I think we can be successful. March basketball is all about playing your best basketball in March. To do that, there is a difference between going to the party in the front door with an amazing seed or kind of working your way in the back door. You can win the party no matter what door you go in. But I think you strive all year long to win the conference championship, win the tournament in Kansas city. And to try to get a seed where you’re going right in there, where you have a chance, where the bracket might open up for you. Either way, whatever door we go in, we’re going to try to win the tournament. Six games in three weeks. It ends on that Monday night. So I think there’s a way to win that tournament.
Chris Beard: (49:33)
We talk about March basketball and winning the national championship from the very first conversation with the recruit, to all the way if we’re walking out on the floor on that Monday night. I do not shy away from the opportunity. March, the way college basketball is set up, you’re defined a lot, you’re judged a lot with what happens in March, and I’m okay with that. Game on. I like March. It’s my favorite month of the year. My birthday’s in February. Randy’s birthday is in… Eight, Michael Jordan. August. Eight, Michael Jordan is granny’s birthday. Those are fun months to me, but nothing’s better than March. I think it’s where we’re at our best. It’s where our players are like, “Man, let’s do this. It’s time.” And so we’ve had some success in March and I’m not apologizing for it. I’m really proud of it. And that will continue here sooner than later.
Speaker 4: (50:30)
Thank you, coach. We’ll let you get to work. Appreciate your time.
Chris Beard: (50:33)
Thank you everyone.