All tournament long, the Texas Tech Red Raiders have been giving opponents the business.
They beat Northern Kentucky by 15, Buffalo by 20 and Michigan by 19. Then they faced mighty Gonzaga, who many predicted would win it all. But the Zags fell victim as well, losing 69-75, which put Tech in the Final Four against Tom Izzo and Michigan State, who had just beaten Zion Williamson and Duke.
Despite all of the talk about superior coaching, tradition and players, the Red Raiders took care of the Spartans on Saturday, and now they’ll be playing in the National Championship game tonight against the Virginia Cavaliers.
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Texas Tech’s head coach, Chris Beard, has done a great job since taking over in 2016, amassing a record of 75-30 over that span.
But as Red Raiders’ fans and the media heap praise on Coach Beard and the amazing job he’s done with the program, let’s not forget about the man who helped build the program back up, Tubby Smith.
Coach Smith took over the program from three coaches who compiled a combined record of 69-104 between 2008-2013. The last coach to maintain a winning record in Lubbock was Coach Bobby Knight, who, between 2001-2008, went 138-82.
Over his three seasons at Texas Tech, Tubby went 14-18, 13-19 and then 19-13 in his final season, coaching the team to it’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since the 2006-2007 season. Although he left Texas Tech with a record of 46-50, his positive impact on the Red Raiders cannot be denied.
Coach Beard took over in 2016, and his teams have gone 18-14, 27-10 and 31-6, a great job of coaching without question.
Tubby moved on to Memphis for two seasons, where he went 40-26, and this past season he was the head coach at his alma matter, High Point, where he went 16-15. His career record as a head coach is 613-317 and his legacy as one of the greatest coaches in college basketball history has been cemented.
So when you mention, or cheer for, the Red Raiders tonight, don’t forget to give Coach Smith his props for the big assist he gave both the program and Coach Beard.