Texas Tech basketball fans prepare for a grudge match against their former coach and his new team

Chris Beard led the Red Raiders to a spot in the national championship game, pledged his loyalty to the school, then left for a job in Austin with the UT Longhorns. Now, the two teams face off for the first time since Beard’s departure.

By Sarah Self-WalbrickFebruary 1, 2022 2:27 pm, , ,

The University of Texas Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Beard will return to Texas Tech Tuesday for the first time since he left the Texas Tech Red Raiders last year to coach the Longhorns. Beard will be greeted by a fanbase hungry for revenge.

Jonathan Kath has his ticket. He says he never misses men’s basketball home games. But his game-day experience started early… like, days early.

“We’re camping out,” Kath said. “Originally, the plan was to come out on Sunday. We had one person start to set up during the Mississippi State game. And so I came out here and said, ‘Oh yeah, it’s time to go.’”

On Monday afternoon, Kath was one of hundreds of students camping out near the United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock. He and his friends have been out here since Saturday.

“The three hours of sleep is worth it,” he said. “I’m going to look back on that. Sleeping here in 15-degree weather with one blanket and a sleeping bag.”

The students camping out should already have tickets. Those sold out within minutes last week. The campers are in line to get the best seat they can in the student section. Kath is ready to get inside.

“It’s going to be hostile, it’s going to be great,” Kath said.

Red Raider fans are hostile toward former head basketball coach Chris Beard. He left Lubbock last spring to coach at his alma mater in Austin. The move came after Beard led the basketball team to new heights, including a national championship game in 2019. He pledged his loyalty to Texas Tech.

So, when he left, Kath says it felt like a stab in the back. But the fan is all in on the new head coach and longtime staff member, Mark Adams.

“I would say this year, the best part is the underdog mentality that we have. We’re a lot better than people think we are,” Kath said.

Texas Tech is currently ranked thirteenth in the Associated Press’s list of top 25 men’s basketball teams. The University of Texas is ranked 23rd.

Tuesday night’s game starts at 8 p.m. and can be watched on ESPN2.

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