I was in Lubbock this past weekend, and had Sunday brunch with Michael_LSRR and Michael LaBarre. As we were fussing about the football game and chatting it up about sports it became clear that we all agreed on one thing. This Red Raiders basketball season has some high expectations, mainly because we all were excited to have Chris Beard back in Lubbock running our program as the head coach. The Tubby Smith exit was all too emotional causing feelings of disbelief, frustration, and sadness. Yet, the best thing that could of happened did happen when we poached Chris Beard on his honeymoon with UNLV. It was a turn of events that led to a frenzy within the program. Once everything settled we are all now expecting great things from Chris Beard and company.
Betsy Blaney gives some brief insight to the inaugural Chris Beard era in her article a few weeks ago:
“We expect to win immediately,” Beard said. “We do have a lot of pieces. The challenge is to try to put this together quickly. That’s the challenge in trying to be successful year one.”
“We’d like to join the top half of the league,” he said. “Then we would like to join the top tier of the league. We want to be in the conversation for championships. To do that is a process, but you have to start by being willing to talk about and I won’t shy away from that.”
There it is, plain and simple. Get wins. With last season ending at the Big Dance, it is realistic to have the belief that we will make it back again this season. The way Coach Beard is talking, is something that all of us basketball fans have constantly dreamed about for the past decade. Get us out of the Big 12 cellar and into the top half of the league. Tubby Smith did bring us out of the cellar, now Chris Beard can get us in the top half.
After that we can start to think about being an elite level Big 12 team. He says it is a process, we all buy into that. We know that our basketball program is currently not expected to compete for a conference championship just yet. But, that is the ultimate goal in the long run.
And there’s more from Coach Beard in this post on flohoops.com:
“I don’t consider our job a rebuild at all,” Beard said at Tuesday’s Big 12 Media Day. “I have a lot of respect for Tubby Smith and his staff and the job they did. We inherited a great foundation…”
“So I think our job is to try to take the program to the next level.”
“I think the one group of people that always gets kind of lost in coaching changes is the seniors. A lot of times you’ll hear things like the first year doesn’t matter or here’s a mulligan or wait till you get your guys in. I never believed that. I respectfully disagreed. These players are my players. These players are our players, and we look forward to having a competitive season.”
“These seniors, and there are six of them, they’re special guys. They’re the backbone and foundation of our program. They don’t have a second year, this is it. So I take the responsibility to put those guys in a competitive situation early very serious. I appreciate the returning seniors trusting us in their senior season, and I appreciate the new seniors trusting us in their last year of college basketball.”
I love it. Coach Beard talks about inheriting a great team, and trying to get to the next level. We all expect that from a new coach. But, my favorite thing is that he doesn’t believe in waiting until he gets “his guys” onto the roster and into the rotation for the wins to matter. How often do you hear a coach say that? It seems like everyone is always talking about waiting to judge a coach when his recruits make their way onto the court, after the “other guys” finish out. It is awesome to hear Coach Beard put the responsibility on himself to make sure we are successful immediately, without excuses.
This upcoming start to the season on Friday night could be the beginning of something very special for our basketball program. The Chris Beard era will be introduced to us, and I cannot wait to cheer our squad on to victory. Let’s get ready to tear it up… Wreck ’em Tech!!!