Texas Tech has zeroed in on its prime candidate to replace Tubby Smith as their next head basketball coach and that is UNLV's Chris Beard. There have been reports and rumors of interest about Beard and the Red Raiders, and according to Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal Texas Tech officials are in town to speak with Beard.
Anderson provides our first plane tracking mention of this coaching search with a private plane arriving at Henderson Executive Airport at 7:01 p.m. PT.
The two did meet Thursday night.
Beard to Texas Tech started on Wednesday when Smith left for Memphis and the Red Raiders were left in a lurch the day of spring recruiting began.
Red Raiders athletic director Kirby Hocutt mentioned earlier in the day that he would not comment on canddiates
"I'm not going to comment on candidates," Hocutt said. "This is unexpected, and as soon as we finish here my focus 24/7 is going go to turn to this basketball coaching search, and we'll look throughout the country.
"We'll make sure, as I told this basketball team, that we bring the best man in to lead them going forward. We'll move as expeditiously as we can, but as they know, we're going to take as much time as needed to make sure we find the right person to come in and move us forward."
Texas Tech is making this play because Beard spent 10 years in Lubbock and it is a place he relates the most to calling home as he moved around a lot as a child.
"People ask me all the time where I'm from," Beard said after his Arkansas Little-Rock team played Texas Tech. "I moved around a lot as a kid, and I've coached a lot of different places, but Lubbock's the longest I've ever lived somewhere, 10 years. And two of my three daughters were born here."
Seeing that Lubbock is a place close to Beard, it might be hard for him to say no to a place that held a special place in his life.
UNLV would need to act swiftly if Beard does up and leave as this time of year is huge for recruiting and with UNLV's roster already depleted from graduation, transfer and players declaring; they will need to get out there and find talent.
As for potential coaches, look back towards New Mexico State's Marvin Menzies, who interviewed for the job before withdrawing, or two former staff members in Stacey Augmon and Ryan Miller.