This was a REALLY interesting decision, IMO.
– Beard (actually Texas Tech, I’m sure) paid a $1 million buyout to Vegas to set him free.
– Reportedly he’s set to make more than the slightly north of $1 million/year Vegas was going to pay him.
– Two big factors…he has daughters living within 3 hours of Lubbock. He also spent 10 years at TTech as an assistant under Bob Knight and Pat Knight.
Now…that’s all well and good. A bit more money and a school and area he knows really well, with family conveniently located around you. All good reasons to take a job and in this case it appears they outweighed any other considerations.
As a pure basketball gig, though, I think he took a step down. Yes, Texas Tech in the Big 12 but that is a TOUGH job, which we discussed when Tubby moved to Memphis just a few days ago. In terms of pure potential, by which I mean recruiting territory, facilities, tradition, university and community support and level of competition, I think Tech can only legitimately argue to have more than one school in their conference and that’s TCU (and some might put Tech below them as well).
Vegas, OTOH, is still the only game in town, with no pro franchises there. It’s not what it was during Tark’s era but the name still has some cache, it’s not difficult to get players to at least consider playing there, and Las Vegas has become a better basketball community in recent years, even apart from the Findlay Prep program. The Mountain West is a solid conference and many years is a multi bid league, but it’s a lot easier to win in than the Big 12. When I look at the potential of the programs in the Mountain West, the only schools I’d put even remotely in Vegas’ league would be San Diego State and *maybe* New Mexico and that’s mostly down to tradition, not the true potential of the job.
I get why Beard did it but man, I think he took on a MUCH stiffer challenge. He’d know better than anyone what he’s getting into there, so he must be very confident that he can get it done, but I think it’s very much a tougher job.
As for Vegas, I’ve looked at some names and it’s not exactly inspiring. Marvin Menzies, who’s had a lot of success at New Mexico State and was reportedly in the running before Beard was hired, is the most logical “good” name. He’s not exactly an impact hire in terms of exciting people nationally but he’s won 23 or more games each of the last 5 years and would bring some long term track record of success to the job. He also did one year as an assistant in Vegas.
After him, you get to Stacy Augmon, which just seems like a massive reach for a guy with limited assistant experience and no head coaching background, and retreads like Steve Lavin and George Karl.
What I don’t understand is this…Vegas always was well known for having active and deep pocketed boosters. Where are those guys now? They got used (it seems to me) by Mick Cronin and then you never heard anything about them going after any other well established names. Why aren’t they going out and offering somebody like Andy Enfield or Buzz Peterson F-you money? Doesn’t make any sense to me, given what that program reportedly had in the way of resources.