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Top Five Head Coach Candidates for Texas Tech Basketball

Texas Tech’s search for a new head coach has begun. Meet our leading candidates!

With the sudden departure of Coach Chris Beard, Texas Tech has begun its search for a new head coach. Here is a quick breakdown of the top five candidates as Texas Tech seems to be heating up the search. Kirby Hocutt, the Athletic Director at Texas Tech, has formed a four-person committee to find the next leader of the Red Raiders.

1) Mark Adams

Coach Adams at Texas Tech Photo CC: Brad Tollefson/ A-J Media

Coach Adams has had multiple stints at TTU, including Director of Basketball Operations from 2013 thru 2015. After a short appearance as the Arkansas-Little Rock Asst. Head Coach, Adams was named the Associate Head Coach for Texas Tech. Adams holds a record of 554-244 as a head coach. He was the head coach for Howard College where he won a JUCO national championship. He has coached NBA player Jae Crowder and has been endorsed by many former TTU players and fans. These include Davide Moretti, Tariq Owens, Zach Smith, and Norense Odiase. Adams has also been considered by many as the architect of Texas Tech’s Dominating Defense. Another scenario could also see Adams keep his Associate Head Coach role under another HC. – Keith Donaghe

Well before Texas Tech found itself needing a new basketball coach, there were rumblings about the man behind the scenes during Tech’s recent run of success.  Chris Beard stole all of the headlines in his time at Texas Tech, but everyone always had nothing but glowing things to say about defensive guru Mark Adams.  Adams has never been a self-promoter in the slightest as a paragon of West Texas humility, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been doing tremendous work.  It is not the motion offense that formed Tech’s basketball identity of late, it was the lockdown “no-middle” defense that now everyone is attempting to copy.  Make no mistake, it is Mark Adams who was the man behind the defense that has been consistently great, not Chris Beard. 

Moreover, Adams has been the man responsible for in-game substitutions.  In other words, Coach Adams has proven himself over the years to be an Xs and Os guru and also has demonstrated the “feel for the game” required for coaching and adjusting during the game.  While most Texas Tech fans know him just as an assistant, Coach Adams cut his teeth in the Junior College ranks as a head coach and remains a legend there.  After the news of Beard’s departure, multiple former Texas Tech players immediately lobbied for Adams to take over.  The ringing endorsements across the board are tough to ignore, and whether Mark Adams gets the job or not, he is a more than worthy candidate. – Trent Wycoff

2) Darvin Ham

Coach Ham (right) with the Atlanta Hawks. Photo CC: @ATLHawks on twitter.

You might remember Ham for his backboard-shattering dunk in the NCAA tournament garnering him the nickname of the Ham-slamwich, but Coach Ham is currently an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks. He has also coached a few NBA legends and top-tier talent including Kobe Bryant and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Coach Ham was known for his powerful inside play at Texas Tech leading the Red Raiders to their first-ever Sweet 16. He also played for 6 NBA teams before making the move to coaching. Darvin does not have any Head Coach experience at the college level but has been interviewed for multiple NBA Head Coaching jobs. – Keith Donaghe

Darvin Ham would be a glass-shattering hire, pun intended. The Bucks fans, upon hearing that he was interviewing for the Texas Tech job, instantly made it known that they didn’t want to lose him, with many openly wishing he would take over as their current head coach. Ham helped build Texas Tech basketball in the early 1990s as a player and has maintained plenty of West Texas roots since. He is already on shortlists for a head coaching job at the NBA level, so if Tech manages to grab him now, it would be a bit of a coup to land a hot name in the coaching world. It is hard to imagine that Texas Tech will have the opportunity at Ham again if he isn’t the choice now.

He is extremely well-respected by fellow players from his Texas Tech days, coaches, and players he has coached at the NBA level. Ham’s playing days bring him instant credibility, and all indications are that he would be a tremendous recruiter if he became the head coach at Texas Tech. Coach Ham commands a presence wherever he goes, which was true in his playing days and remains the case as a coach now. He has a softer side as well, spending much of his free time working with Urban Youth Development, which is a non-profit he started with his wife Deneitra, who is a Red Raider herself. Ham also returned to Tech after his playing days to complete his Texas Tech degree, so he is a Red Raider through and through. – Trent Wycoff

3) Grant McCasland

Coach McCasland with North Texas Photo CC: Jeff Woo/DRC

Coach McCasland is the current coach for the North Texas Mean Green where he has amassed 78 wins and 51 losses. Grant won the 2020 C-USA championship and Coach of the Year Award. In the 2021 NCAA tournament, Coach McCasland led the Mean Green to an upset over Purdue. He also played point guard at Baylor as well as being named assistant after he graduated, which could be a problem if Hocutt is gun-shy about hiring another coach who is an alumnus from an in-state rival. – Keith Donaghe

Grant McCasland has put UNT basketball on the map with a run of three consecutive seasons with 20 wins or more. McCasland’s name is in the mix both because he’s an up-and-coming coach and because he has some Texas Tech roots. Coach McCasland has a Master’s degree from Texas Tech, met his wife at Tech, and also served on Coach James Dickey’s staff. However, he also has ties to Baylor as both a player and a coach, and those may be a mark against him simply due to the reason the Tech coaching job is open in the first place. – Trent Wycoff

4) Joe Golding

Joe Golding Photo CC: Rick Yeatts / Southland Conference

Joe Golding is currently coaching for Abilene Christian University, Coach Golding brought the Wildcats to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2019 and the first-ever win with a one-point win over Texas in the first round of the 2021 Tournament. Coach Golding also has the Wildcats on a 3 season streak of 20+ wins. He also brought the Wildcats to an all-time high of 25 wins in the 2019 season. Coach Golding also has a great eye for talent, bringing in the 2016 and 2017 Southland Conference Freshman of the Year award winners. – Keith Donaghe

If the goal is to try and find the next Chris Beard, Golding is a solid candidate. Joe led his ACU Wildcats to one of the bigger upsets of the tournament with the win over Texas and may have inadvertently played a role in Shaka Smart being ousted at UT and the dominoes that fell after to allow UT to poach Beard. Of course, it’s unfair to hold that against him, as all he did was coach his players to beat a supposedly better team. ACU also gave Tech fits earlier in the season because they are a smart, well-coached group. Tech could do a lot worse, and Golding likely has a bright coaching future, but it’s hard to consider him a better choice than a few of the names above him right now. – Trent Wycoff

5) Eric Musselman

Eric Musselman with Arkansas Photo CC: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Musselman is the current coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks, I don’t see him leaving Arkansas for Texas Tech but it’s not crazy to think that it could happen. Coach Musselman took Arkansas to 4 NCAA tournaments in 6 years as coach, including defeating the Coach Beard-led Red Raiders in this year’s tournament and winning the CBI in 2016. – Keith Donaghe

Texas Tech fans, unfortunately, need no introduction to the coach of the team that ousted the Red Raiders from this year’s tournament. Musselman is in charge of what was one of the nation’s most potent offenses. For a program that has been a bit lacking offensively of late, Coach Musselman represents an intriguing option but would likely be difficult to pull away from Arkansas. Still, he merits consideration and would be a quality hire. – Trent Wycoff

Other Options:

Kelvin Sampson and Rick Pitino are both qualified candidates, but with Roy Williams retiring, Sampson being a UNC native is likely to pursue that position above all else and Rick Pitino could be considered too controversial by TTU.

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