Is Arkansas setting themselves up for disaster by waiting to Chris Beard? If that is truly the case, yes and no.
If you remember roughly 15 months ago, Arkansas was searching for their newest head football coach. After firing Bret Bielema, the Razorbacks good ol’ boy network wanted to mend the wounds with former offensive coordinator, Gus Malzahn, and bring him home to northwest Arkansas. Many believed this was the dream job that Malzahn always wanted. The brass waited through the Iron Bowl, SEC Championship game and a few days after that also throwing $6 million a year for him to be the savior of the Arkansas Razorbacks football program. It ended up a disaster and reports of coach after coach turning down the Arkansas job until Chad Morris had the opportunity of a lifetime sitting at his doorstep in the DFW.
Now, Arkansas is looking to take going after Texas Tech head man, Chris Beard very seriously. One of Little Rock’s most well-known and wealthiest corporations, Stephen’s Inc. has reportedly offered Arkansas Athletic Director, Hunter Yurachek, whatever amount it takes to bring Beard to Arkansas. If that is true, they are going to MAKE Beard say no to Arkansas before moving on to someone else.
What are the pros to bringing Beard on?
- He has been a winner everywhere he’s been.
As far as winning in the post season goes, Beard can get it done. In his one season at D-3 McMurry State, the the War Hawks finished 19-10 with a regional finals appearance.
With his success there, he moved on to Angelo State where he compiled a 47-15 record in two seasons. In his second season with the Rams, he led hem to the third round of he NCAA D-2 Third Round.
Then, Little Rock came calling. At the Division-1 level, he won in the Sun Belt Conference going 30-5 with an upset of Purdue in the First Round in the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
News of a how successful Beard has been traveled fast because he gained the attention of former basketball powerhouse, UNLV. After staying their barely a day, Texas Tech came calling and since missing the post season with an 18-15 record in 2017 Beard has led them to back to back tournament appearances. Last season with a 27-10 Elite Eight run and a date this season in the Final Four. So far, a cumulative record of 75-30 at Texas Tech has given Beard’s agent phone calls galore about every job opening in America. Of course, it has been well deserved.
2. The first con is that Beard has not stayed at one school very long.
I say that not as a knock but because he is an up and comer in the coaching ranks and his stay at Tech is the longest he has been anywhere since leaving Tech in 2011 to start a head coaching career. If he comes to Arkansas, the brass better have a good looking buyout in the $15 million range. Texas could come calling soon if the Longhorns choose to dump Shaka Smart, who has a $13 million buyout himself.
3. What Beard can do is make an impact.
In 2017, he led Tech to their first regular season victory over #2 West Virginia in program history. Then history repeated itself as they won the same game the next year. In 2017, he led he Red Raiders to their first ever win at Kansas. Oh, do not forget he helped Tech to their first Elite Eight appearance, too. At Little Rock, Beard led Little Rock to a monumental upset over 5 seed Purdue. One of the biggest wins in Trojan history.
Does Arkansas get Coach Beard? If not, these three men are on the clock:
Eric Musselman: 110-34 overall at Nevada.
He was here, he wasn’t here and he could have been here a different day. Musselman has reportedly been offered the job unless Beard declines the position. Who knows? I know that Musselman could be interested as he has been linked to the job since Monday evening.
Gregg Marshall 308-112 at Wichita State
One of the best mid-major coaches in all of college basketball has been Marshall and that is known all over the country. With his success with the Shockers has given him ample amount of opportunists to leave the school but has not yet. Could things be stale after a high number of transfers in 2018 and a subpar NIT season? I think he could be a better choice than Musselman but if not he still would be a great candidate for the Hogs.
Steve Alford: 124-63 at UCLA
You can not go wrong with the former coach of the Bruins where he led them to three Sweet 16’s in five seasons at the helm. Yeah, the Ball family ultimately cost him his job as he was their scapegoat. The fella is a winner everywhere he has been with his overall record being 587-298. Does Arkansas take a chance on him?
There is always a chance Arkansas does not bring any four of these men in. Goodness, it sure does not hurt to try!