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UNLV's Chris Beard is leading candidate for Texas Tech job

Is there any real substance to the chatter that Chris Beard could leave UNLV for Texas Tech before even coaching a game?

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

New UNLV head coach Chris Beard probably doesn't even have his office arranged yet, so the rumors that he is going to leave the Rebels to head back to Texas Tech seem to be just that, only rumors at this time. Bleacher Report's Jason King is reporting that Beard is the top choice to replace Tubby Smith who recently took the head coaching job at Memphis.

There was chatter Wednesday night about Beard being connected to the Red Raiders sudden opening, and there is good reason for that since Beard has been an assistant coach at a few locations in the state of Texas. More importantly is that he was an assistant coach for 10 years with the Red Raiders.

King makes a few good points in why Beard would consider bolting for Lubbock, Texas.

However, is Texas Tech really a better job than UNLV? The Red Raiders have been a decent team in the Big 12 but there were very few years where they were challenging for a conference title, and their overall hoops history is no where near what the Rebels have produced.

Money could be a big factor but he is already going to more than double his income with the contract put in place at UNLV. Texas Tech paid Smith an average of $1,811,300 per year, and that would be almost double his UNLV deal. However, UNLV can offer that and more if they choose to.

The school was reportedly going to shell out $2 million to Cincinnati's Mick Cronin and then there was Under Armour who was going to add another million annually. If Beard is successful at UNLV the money will be there.

Another solid point King makes is that the roster at Texas Tech is currently better than UNLV, and currently is the best word to use. The Rebels are having a mass exodus with transfers and players declaring for the NBA Draft, however a few could return.

Long term UNLV is the better play because looking at the recruiting rankings since 2010, Texas Tech has had zero top-50 recruiting classes while UNLV has had multiple classes in the top-10 and ranked in the top-50 in the previous five years.

Family is a big deal as well but it is not like Little Rock, Arkansas, is that much closer. Driving it takes just over nine hours from Little Rock to Lubbock -- assuming King means the Lubbock-area -- and Las Vegas is over a 12 hour drive. Who are we kidding, Beard would likely fly and getting from Las Vegas to Lubbock is an hour less flight. So, the difference is not that much from his prior job, but if they are in the Lubbock-area than Texas Tech obviously wins this category.

The odds of Beard taking a new job after a month would be a pretty low ball move and could tarnish him as a coach, and even more so if he does not bring improved success to Texas Tech.

Plus, Beard is already out recruiting like crazy for transfer since his 2016-17 roster barely makes up a starting five.

Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal clears up some of what has been floating around regarding Beard.

• Much Twitter speculation has focused on whether Beard has a 30-day window in his contract with UNLV to walk away without penalty. He doesn't.

• Other speculation centered on whether he had signed the contract. He had, and the approval by the University of Nevada Board of Regents on Friday made it official and binding.

• Should Texas Tech be interested in hiring Beard, by contract UNLV would be owed a $1 million buyout.

• If Smith leaves for Memphis, Texas Tech would have to act quickly because the spring signing period began Wednesday, and Beard has been out recruiting for the Rebels. So UNLV fans would know probably within 24 hours whether there is something to the story or if it's just Internet chatter.

So, Beard's contract is binding and Texas Tech would have to pay seven-figures to the Rebels, and this coaching search would come up again.

Never say never, but the big sticking point is that the spring recruiting window opened up on Wednesday so if Texas Tech really wanted Beard they would make a push and try to get him hired and on the recruiting trail for them before the weekend.

Beard has been pushing hard for transfer recruits and has show interest in Virginia Tech's Jalen Hudson, Presbyterian forward DeSean Murray and plenty of others.

Another note on this latest development is that the new assistants for UNLV's staff under Beard have not been announced nor have their contracts been approved. They also do not have Stacey Augmon or Ryan Miller on staff who decided that they will not be returning as assistant coaches.