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Texas Longhorns tab Texas Tech's Chris Beard as new men's basketball coach

April 1 (UPI) -- The Texas Longhorns have hired Texas Tech's Chris Beard as their next men's basketball coach, the school announced Thursday.

The 48-year-old Beard replaces former Texas coach Shaka Smart, who left for the Marquette head-coaching job last month.

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"When we began discussing potential candidates to lead our men's basketball program, Chris Beard's name kept coming up," Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. "He's a highly regarded coach and also a person who is so well thought of in his profession and beyond, and in our talks with him and those who know him well, we came away extremely impressed.

"We've all seen what he's done in building Texas Tech into a national force, recognize his wealth of knowledge and experience, and his track record at every place he's been is extraordinary."

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Beard, who received his bachelor's degree from Texas in 1995 and worked as a student assistant under then-head coach Tom Penders, said he is "thrilled" to return to the school.

"I'm thrilled and excited to be coming back to Austin and back to the Longhorn family," Beard said. "I can't express how excited I am for this opportunity and the journey that lies ahead. Our top priority will be embracing our players as soon as we get to campus, and I look forward to starting this journey together toward our championship goals."

During his five seasons at Texas Tech, Beard established himself as one of the top coaches in the country. He guided the Red Raiders to the national championship game in 2019 and the Elite Eight in 2018.

Texas Tech finished with an 18-11 record this season before losing to Arkansas in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Beard's overall record at the school was 112-55.

Before taking over at TTU, Beard spent one season as head coach at Arkansas Little Rock. He led the Trojans to 30 wins and a spot in the NCAA tourney.

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Texas said Beard will be formally introduced at a news conference Friday.

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