MINNEAPOLIS – Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt realized he owned a hot trainer property long before the NCAA tournament began.
Chris Beard's actions have risen more and more with each victory en route to the first appearance of the Tech Final Four.
While Hocutt was checking into the Tech team hotel on Wednesday, he described exactly how he had been "proactive" about Beard. He said it included a $ 30 million basketball practice facility currently under construction, the university's overall investment in the program and the current status of Beard's contract. It does not matter that Beard signed a contract for six years and $ 19 million after taking Tech to Elite Eight in 2018.
"It would be my intention to have that conversation on Tuesday or Wednesday," Hocutt said, "and Chris and I have talked about this."
Hocutt realizes that things have changed. A salary of $ 2.8 million this year, tied for 27th among college basketball coaches, according to the USA Today Database – could have seemed very competitive 12 months ago. Now not so much.
If that means breaking or restructuring the previous agreement to a large extent, Hocutt said that is a possibility.
In fact, he approached Beard almost six weeks ago.
"These conversations began at the end of February," Hocutt said. "I would say it was our focus and the focus and commitment of coach Beard with this team and this season, we decided to press the pause button until the season ends."
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The beard could have other options. The work in Arkansas remains open, and LSU and Arizona are in a state of flux-induced scandal at this time.
While Shaka Smart's work is not in danger in Texas, what would happen if he took another job?
For now, Beard seems to be a great option for Tech, a coach who recruits many players and makes them play an incredibly effective defense.
Attendance at United Supermarkets Arena has skyrocketed. Only Kansas and Iowa State averaged more in home attendance among Big 12 schools than Tech's 12,098 this season. Little things, like Barba's video. "Chats from home,"They are big hits with the fans, their two youngest daughters still go to school in Abilene, approximately 2 1/2 hours by car.
Not knowing what could happen in the coaching market, Hocutt says he is optimistic about keeping Beard.
"I guess I would say I'm very confident in our ability to be proactive and keep investing in our program and our coach," said Hocutt. "I am extremely confident that Texas Tech is an excellent basketball job.
"I am extremely confident that we have the right coach, one of the best coaches in the country who runs our program at this time."
This topic is losing its voice.