The hiring comes on the day when Beard’s buyout to switch Big 12 Conference schools dropped to $4 million, according to ESPN. Beard’s salary at Tech was nearly $5 million a year, but Texas has one of the top jobs in the sport, in addition to having ties to Beard, who started his coaching career as a student assistant when Tom Penders was the coach.
In five seasons in which Beard compiled a 112-55 record at Tech, the Red Raiders advanced to one national championship game, losing to Virginia in 2019, and an Elite Eight appearance. Earlier this month, Tech, a sixth seed, lost 68-66 to Arkansas in the second round of the NCAA tournament. His teams made the NCAA tournament three times.
The move comes despite a request from one high-profile former Tech football player. Days ago, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had pleaded with Beard not to leave.
The hiring comes on the same day that another high-profile college basketball job opened up. Earlier, North Carolina’s Roy Williams announced that he is retiring after 33 years.
Smart’s run at Texas was a disappointing one after leading VCU to a Final Four appearance and 109-86 record over six seasons. Although his Longhorns were 19-8 this season and won the Big 12 tournament, they failed to win an NCAA tournament game during his time in Austin. This year, the Longhorns lost 53-52 to Abilene Christian and Coach Joe Golding’s postgame comment was especially cutting.
”We just beat the University of Texas,” he said. “Little ol’ Abilene Christian out in West Texas built a program that went toe-to-toe with the University of Texas and it’s an incredible story. It’s what March is about.”