Five Potential Chris Beard Replacements at Texas

Ryan Phillips
UNC Greensboro v Arkansas
UNC Greensboro v Arkansas / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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Texas fired head basketball coach Chris Beard on Thursday after he was arrested following a domestic violence incident a few weeks ago. The athletic department will now begin a search for a new coach and, given the deep pockets the school has, the Longhorns should aim as high as possible.

Here's a look at five possible candidates for Texas.

Eric Musselman, Arkansas

Musselman is in his fourth season at Arkansas and has turned the Razorbacks into a legit contender. He's led them to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances, has a record of 85-30 (.739) and is now reeling in five-star prospects on the recruiting trail. He's at the peak of the profession right now, which is why he should be a top target for Texas. His personality and antics aren't for everyone, but the guy can flat-out coach and recruit.

It would take a massive contract to pry him away from Arkansas, but Musselman has no long-term ties to the program. A godfather offer could get him to Austin.

Nate Oats, Alabama

Nate Oats is another guy who has turned around his current program and has them playing incredibly well. Alabama won the SEC regular season and tournament titles in 2021 and made the Sweet 16. The Crimson Tide were down during the 2021-22 season but still made the NCAA Tournament. This year they're 12-2, and he's 73-38 (.658) overall in his four seasons.

Again, Texas would have to pay Oats a nice chunk of cash but Alabama plays a really fun brand of basketball and he'd fit in really well in Austin.

Kelvin Sampson, Houston

Given the talent he's had and the program he's coaching, it's not a stretch to say Kelvin Sampson has been the best on-court coach in college basketball the past few seasons. Since 2018, Houston is 130-23, a winning percentage of .850. He's led the Cougars to the Final Four and Elite Eight in the past two seasons and has them at 14-1 top open the 2022-23 campaign.

Yes, Sampson screwed up his last change with a Power 5 program by violating NCAA rules and leaving Indiana a smoldering pile of rubble in his wake, but that was nearly 15 years ago. It's likely time for the 67-year-old to get another shot at a top job. He could be the guy who takes Texas over the top.

John Calipari, Kentucky

Would Calipari leave a lifetime contract at Kentucky to go to Texas? Probably not, but there's no reason not to make the call. Given the talent he's had during his 14 seasons in Lexington it's pretty remarkable Calipari has only won one national title. His squad missed the NCAA Tournament in 2021 and was bounced in the first round last season. Kentucky fans have started grumbling.

Again, it would take an insane amount of money to get Calipari to jump to Texas, but stranger things have happened. It's a massive longshot but, again, there's no reason not to call.

Matt Painter, Purdue

Painter has built a really good program at Purdue and has had the Boilermakers ranked No. 1 in each of the past two seasons. The problem is, he hasn't been to the Final Four in his 17 seasons in West Lafayette. There appears to be a hard ceiling on the program that wouldn't exist at a place like Texas.

Purdue is Painter's alma mater but he's making less than $4 million a year. He almost bolted for the Missouri job in March of 2011, so he has considered leaving before. Texas could give him a substantial raise and bring his appealing brand of basketball to campus. It would be hard for Painter to leave Purdue but definitely not out of the question for the right deal.

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