Beard top candidate for Texas Tech job

Here we go again.

One week after officially being approved by the Nevada Board of Regents as the new men’s head basketball coach at UNLV, Chris Beard now is expected to leave to take over for Tubby Smith at Texas Tech.

Beard, who spent 10 years as an assistant for the Red Raiders including seven under the legendary Bobby Knight, met with Texas Tech officials on Thursday night at the Henderson Executive Airport.

Chris Maathuis of KLAS-TV caught up with Beard as he was leaving the two-hour meeting Thursday night but Beard refused to comment.

UNLV athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy released a statement late Thursday night confirming that her new coach was already considering leaving (Click on item below):

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If Beard does leave — one Fox Sports station in Texas reported he had already accepted the job — it would mean UNLV would be on the market to for its fourth coach in less than four months after firing Dave Rice on Jan. 10th and then promoting assistant Todd Simon to interim head coach. Simon recently left to become the head coach at Southern Utah.

Smith replaced Josh Pastner, who left Memphis to become head coach at Georgia Tech, on Thursday morning. He had a $900,000 buyout clause in his contract with Texas Tech while Beard has a $1 million buyout with UNLV. So for $100,000 – peanuts for a Power Five Conference school – the Red Raiders can bring Beard aboard if they agree to contract terms.

Smith was being paid $1.8 million per year at Texas Tech or almost double what Beard would make at UNLV, which has yet to officially announce his assistant coaching staff.

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