Texas head men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard is expected to face no shortage of vitriol from Texas Tech fans at United Supermarkets Arena Tuesday night. He returns to Lubbock, Texas, for the first time since leaving the Red Raiders to become the Longhorns’ coach after the 2020-21 season. Scenes from Texas’ arrival to campus Monday, ahead of the game, already provided a glimpse of what is to come once the arena doors open. That prompted Texas Tech head football coach Joey McGuire to kindly remind Red Raiders fans that their emotions and actions could have a negative impact on the home team if not contained.
“I’m so fired up about the game tonight and our job is fans — that is who we are,” McGuire said in a video posted to Twitter. “Tonight, we are fans — is to make sure we do everything we can to create an environment that is tough for Texas to play in. That is getting loud. That is everything we do to give our team the energy. But we do nothing to take away from that. We don’t throw anything on the court. We focus everything on us winning the game and not them. And that’s making sure we show the nation tonight on TV and anybody in the crowd what this university is all about and making us proud to be Red Raiders, and not taking away from that.
“Remember this: Whenever they leave, and they leave with that loss, that’s going to hurt the most. So let’s make sure we’re doing everything we can to bring the energy for our team, coach (Mark) Adams, and this great university.”
The Chris Beard era of Texas Tech basketball — one that featured a run to the national championship game in 2019 — came to an abrupt end in April of last year when Texas hired away Beard as head coach to replace Shaka Smart after Smart left to become he head coach at Marquette. Beard, a former player for the Longhorns, was an overall 112-55 in six seasons under Beard. Then-Red Raiders assistant Mark Adams, whom Texas Tech promoted to head coach following Beard’s departure.
Beard’s first game back at Texas Tech has been much anticipated for some time. Red Raiders athletic director Kirby Hocutt told reporters as long ago as last April during, on the day of Beard’s exit, that he expected a raucous environment in Lubbock when Texas visited during the 2021-22 season.
“There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that when the Big 12 Conference releases next year’s basketball schedule that when (Texas) comes to Lubbock, Texas, the United Supermarkets Arena is going to be rocking that night,” Hocutt said last year. “And there is no doubt that when we go to Austin, Red Raider nation will occupy most of the arena as we have in the past.”
Texas Tech and Texas tip at 8 p.m. CT on ESPN2.