Red Raider fans have heard it before, “It’s not you. It’s me.”
Dear Coach Beard,
It really freaking hurts.
There is no other way to say it. Red Raider Nation was hurt by your decision to leave Lubbock. It’s agonizing because you showed us what this program could be. Since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996, prior to your arrival, the men’s program had been to the tournament six times, including consecutive dance-less years from 2007-2015. Your first trip took us to the Elite Eight. Your next trip took us 17 seconds away from winning a national championship.
Texas Tech fans, both young and old, have often found themselves playing the “forgotten” child of the Lone Star state. The success of the football program, the team the university has often been most identified with, has only 11 conference titles since 1925. Tech fans have also been through a bad breakup of their own with their most beloved football coach. Although most would equate it to seeing their parents get a divorce, the stabbing pain that comes with the end of this relationship you established is unfortunately something the Red Raider faithful are having to re-live again.
But this one is so much more personal. Red Raider fans embraced a known Longhorn as one of their own. You brought us in close with your Fireside chats. You made Red Raider fans love Whataburger even more. You connected to this fan base in a way that was different. You helped make Texas Tech “a cool kid” who often was eating lunch alone amongst the basketball elite. Red Raider fans know that you felt it too. How could you not?
There is a reason why every local business in town was offering you free food, free cleans, free drinks; you name it, the city of Lubbock had your back. You were on your way to having your own statue outside the stadium well before you would have retired from coaching. All of those gestures were not just about wins and losses. It was about that true love of an entire community that had blossomed into something it had never been before. Red Raider fans saw some of the pictures of you landing in Austin the day you took the job. It was clear that this decision was emotional for you. After a few days, you finally expressed some words of gratitude for your time as the head coach at Texas Tech:
Some Red Raider fans will deem this no more than lip service. And, unfortunately, you have been the target of some very ugly comments by Red Raider fans that went beyond reacting to you making a business decision. It’s hard not to blame them; have you ever been thinking rationally during a breakup? Of course not, and you had to have anticipated the reaction would have been swift and passionate.
The dust has now settled. This break-up reality is real. No April fools joke. You are gone. This type of breakup had the potential to burn much longer than any fireside chat. But, as I am sure you have done in the last few days, Red Raider Nation has also taken a look around to realize some things themselves. You have had an undoubtedly tremendous impact on this program, but Red Raider fans don’t need you to be invited to the “cool kids” table anymore. Red Raider fans always felt that this type of achievement could be possible. But now that you have shown them it is indeed possible, they are taking each day in stride knowing they are in a much better place than when you arrived.
Red Raider fans know that you didn’t build the success by yourself. The man who orchestrated the tenacious defense this program is now known for isn’t going anywhere. A true son to Texas Tech, Coach Mark Adams now ascends into the Head Coach role. Red Raider Nation is thrilled to truly have one of their own be the man to elevate this program yet again. Maybe it was time for you and Texas Tech to move on. Certainly, it is now time for Texas Tech to move on from you.
You mentioned in your statement “you wish Red Raider Nation nothing but the best moving forward.” Red Raider Nation wishes nothing but the best for your family, in that they all stay happy and healthy. But Red Raider Nation simply can’t wish you the best moving forward because Red Raider Nation played in that “Monday night game” you referred to in your opening press conference just 2 years ago. Texas has never played in that game. The Texas Tech faithful will continue to stand on heights of victory.
Red Raider Nation will not be drowning their breakup sorrows with gallons of ice cream; they are going to pick themselves up and trust in Coach Adams to lead them back to the heights they saw in 2019. Red Raider Nation hopes you enjoy living in Austin; just know when you come back to Lubbock, the fans who pack United Supermarkets Arena will ensure it’s louder than any music festival you could catch at SXSW.
Red Raider Nation