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Wayne Staats | | April 4, 2019

Texas Tech's Chris Beard named AP men's basketball Coach of the Year

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard interviews Andy Katz for a Final Four edition of Fireside Chat

Texas Tech stared the season unranked despite coming off an Elite Eight appearance. The program also hadn't won a conference title since 1996.

Chris Beard had some surprises for the country.

The Red Raiders earned a share of their first Big 12 title in program history and ended the regular season in the top 10 of the polls, helping Beard earn AP men's basketball coach of the year honors. Beard received 20 votes, with Houston's Kelvin Sampson in second with 13.

Voters submitted ballots ahead of the NCAA tournament. Since then, Beard and the Red Raiders have only continued to win, as Texas Tech is in the Final Four for the first time in program history.

No other coach besides Beard and Sampson received at least 10 votes.

Texas Tech went 18-14 in Beard's first season in 2016-17. The Red Raiders then made the jump to 27-10 and made the Elite Eight before falling to eventual national champion Villanova. It was the best NCAA tournament run in program history.

This season, the Red Raiders had to replace first-round pick Zhaire Smith, among others. But with Jarrett Culver and a dominant defense, Texas Tech went from unranked to into the top 10 by early January.

With an 80-73 win against Iowa State in the last game of the regular season, Texas Tech completed a 14-4 Big 12 regular season to share the title with K-State. It was the program's first conference title since winning the SWC regular season and tournament crowns in 1996.

Now the Red Raiders are 30-6 and set to play Michigan State on Saturday in the Final Four.

Before coming to Texas Tech, Beard was head coach at Fort Scott Community College, Seminole State State College, McMurry University, Angelo State, Little Rock and briefly with UNLV. Beard then returned to Texas Tech, where he was first an assistant and later associate head coach under Bob Knight and then Pat Knight.

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