Will Indiana target Chris Beard for opening?

Now that Indiana is searching for a new coach, some industry “insiders” are suggesting that Texas Tech basketball head coach Chris Beard should be a target.

Almost as much of an annual springtime tradition as March Madness is the speculation that a high-profile program is going to target Texas Tech basketball head coach Chris Beard.  The latest so-called blue-blood that many believe may have interest in Beard is Indiana.

Monday, the Hoosiers fired head coach Archie Miller after four seasons. With a 67-58 overall record at IU, he went just 33-44 in Big Ten play.

Miller’s is being paid a $10.3 million buyout, showing that Indiana is prepared to make a significant investment in resurrecting one of the proudest college basketball programs in the nation.  IU has won five NCAA Tournament titles while reaching the Final Four on eight occasions.

But in recent years, the IU brand has fallen on hard times.  In fact, the program has not been relevant for half a decade having not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2016, the same year that Chris Beard led Arkansas-Little Rock to an upset of No. 5 seed Purdue in the first round.

Of course, that win vaulted Beard to the top of the coaching candidate list that year and he parlayed that into the job at UNLV, which he held for only a month before taking the job at Texas Tech.  Now, some big names in the world of college basketball media are talking as if Beard may be one of Indiana’s targets.

Stadium’s college basketball insider Jeff Goodman is throwing Beard’s name around as a coach that IU should pursue, along with Baylor’s Scott Drew.  Goodman even points out that Beard will be coaching at Indiana’s home gym, Assmebly Hall, this Friday in the NCAA Tournament giving the Hoosier administration an up-close look at one of their possible targets.

Meanwhile, the “Indianapolis Star” calls Beard a potential “home run” hire for the Hoosiers.  But they question whether he would leave his beloved Texas for Indiana.

“[Beard’s] buyout also isn’t prohibitive if you aren’t Kansas or Texas,” writes Zach Osterman “but given his deep personal and professional ties to the Lone Star State, would he readily swap that for a move to the Midwest?”

But speaking of money, Indiana is going to have to step up to lure Beard away from the South Plains.  That’s because, as Carlos Silva of the “Avalanche-Journal” points out, Beard’s salary is considerably higher than Millers’ was in Bloomington.

In the end, it’s tough to see Beard leaving Lubbock for Indiana.  It’s a good job but no longer one of the blue-blood programs in the nation.  What’s more, Beard is closely intertwined with his current AD, Kirby Hocutt, and that relationship will likely be enough to keep him happy in Lubbock.

But what we can be certain of is that just because Beard is one of the highest-paid coaches in the nation, it won’t stop other schools from sniffing around.  It’s come to be an annual rite of spring and one that is likely to continue for as long as Beard is in Lubbock.

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