With Chris Beard leaving to in-state rival Texas, who are the candidates for the Texas Tech coaching vacancy? Let’s take a look.
The worst fears for Texas Tech fans were confirmed Thursday as Chris Beard will reportedly take over as head coach at Texas, succeeding Shaka Smart.
Beard, a Texas alum, leaves behind a program that he improved from the Big 12 cellar to the 2019 national title game in just a handful of years.
So what’s next for the Red Raiders? Let’s identify five potential candidates who could be in the mix.
5) Mark Adams, Texas Tech assistant
Before looking externally, the most likely in-house candidate would be Adams, who has served the associate head-coaching role alongside Beard for the last two years. He is the mastermind behind Texas Tech’s stingy defense that ranked top 10 in KenPom three of the last four years.
Elevating Adams to head coach could be a long shot, however, because of his ties with Beard and the likelihood of following Beard to Texas. He and Beard have been together since coaching the ’15-16 Little Rock Trojans. Prior to Little Rock, Adams was in an ops role with Texas Tech.
4) Johnny Jones, Texas Southern head coach
If Jones has any desire to return to the high-major ranks as head coach, Texas Tech could be a natural fit. Jones and TSU continue to dominate the SWAC, earning a First Four win last month over Mount St. Mary’s.
Jones has either been a head coach, associate head coach or high-major assistant every year since 1984. His previous stops as head coach were at LSU and North Texas, winning at least 20 games in five of his last six years at UNT and guiding LSU to the NCAA Tournament in 2015. Jones’ teams are typically strong on the boards and play at a fast tempo.
3) Chris Jans, New Mexico State head coach
Several rumors have swirled this offseason about Jans potentially seeking opportunities outside of Las Cruces. Prior to this past season where NMSU played every game away from home, Jans was 43-3 in WAC play his first three years.
Jans is no stranger to the transfer market and his best players have often been products of the portal. With transfer numbers reaching record highs, a coach who knows how to navigate the portal could be a major selling point. Jans knows how to put rosters together and is just down the road from Lubbock.
2) Grant McCasland, North Texas head coach
McCasland would be higher on this list if he weren’t already a serious candidate for Oklahoma. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported Thursday that McCasland or Loyola Chicago’s Porter Moser are the primary candidates to take the Sooners job.
If OU goes with Moser or anyone else not named Grant McCasland, the North Texas head coach could be the perfect fit in Lubbock. At 44, McCasland already owns a first-round NCAA Tournament upset and CBI title, a 20-win year at Arkansas State as head coach, six years alongside Scott Drew at Baylor, and head-coaching experience at the D-II level. McCasland seems destined for a high-major job this offseason whether it’s Oklahoma or Texas Tech.
1) Joe Golding, Abilene Christian head coach
Possibly the hottest mid-major name in the carousel, Abilene Christian’s meteoric rise under Golding speaks for itself. ACU made its transition to D-I ahead of the ’13-14 season and has already recorded a 27-win season and an NCAA Tournament win over Texas last month.
Golding is one of the best defensive-minded coaches in the nation. ACU has been in the top 10 in defensive turnover rate in each of the last three years and was 25th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency this past season, per KenPom. Continuing the defense-first approach in Lubbock after the Beard era could be exactly what the Red Raiders program needs. Golding’s rapid progression at the D-I level parallels Beard as well. Snagging Golding before he takes an even bigger job would be pivotal towards keeping Texas Tech towards the top of the Big 12.