April 5, 2019 / 2:49 AM / 8 months ago

Texas Tech's Beard named Coach of the Year

Apr 4, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard speaks during a press conference for being named the coach of the year at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

MINNEAPOLIS - Texas Tech coach Chris Beard was named college basketball Coach of the Year on Thursday.

Texas Tech has a school-record 30 wins entering Saturday’s national semi-final against Michigan State.

“I just want to thank the game of basketball for everything it does for people. It changes lives, and it’s just a special thing. Especially college basketball. When executed correctly, it can just change lives,” Beard said Thursday. “None of us are here today without basketball.”

Beard was an assistant coach and associate head coach at Texas Tech from 2001-11 and worked his way through small-college ranks — first at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas — as a head coach.

“Most importantly, this is an award that we won this year,” Beard said. “I was having the same conversation with Jarrett Culver just a couple of weeks ago in my office when he won Big 12 Player of the Year, and Culver and I shared the view that any award you get in athletics in a team sport is team based.

“So I really share this award with everybody, not only on this year’s team, but every Texas Tech team we’ve had as we built this.

“I just really want to thank the players. It’s so cool when we’re here and we get the award and you guys are here. I don’t know what I possibly could have what John Wooden and Bob Knight and Coach Izzo didn’t have, but I don’t think they had their team 30 minutes removed from practice sitting on the front row when we got the award. This is special. I want to thank each player that played on this year’s team. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you guys.”

The AP award founded in 1967 went three times to Beard’s mentor, Knight, but Beard is the first coach at a Texas university to win the trophy.

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