Texas Tech is doing just fine with Mark Adams … so when its former coach comes to town, silence will be golden

February 1 is on a lot of Texas Tech sports fans’ calendars.

It’s the day fans can scream at Chris Beard for leaving Lubbock last spring to lead the Texas Longhorns men’s basketball program.

The game’s sold out.

People will boo, yell insults and hold up signs to protest Beard bailing on Texas Tech, Lubbock, West Texas … all of us who filled United Supermarkets Arena like never before to support him and his program the past few seasons.

But what if we all did something else that Tuesday night?

Ignore him. Be silent.

In Brownfield native and Texas Tech alum Mark Adams, we may have the better coach to lead the program.

Through Saturday, both Tech and that team from Austin are 3-2 in the Big 12 Conference, 13-4 overall.  The Red Raiders are scoring 73.8 points per game and giving up 58.6. Texas is scoring 70.4 and allowing 54.5.   As I write this two days after Tech lost at Kansas State, the Red Raiders are now ranked 18th and Texas is 23rd. And in ESPN’s Power Rankings, the Red Raiders are 15th and Texas is not mentioned.

So far, Texas Tech is not suffering without Beard.

So far, Texas Tech is not suffering without Beard.

After Tech beat then-No. 6 Kansas at home January 8, a national sportswriter Tweeted: “I repeat: Texas Tech is missing its top two scorers, and it’s about to beat Kansas. Mark Adams has done an amazing job maintaining Chris Beard’s culture.”

To which a friend of mine responded:  “With all due respect … this is Mark Adams’ culture.”

Later, someone else Tweeted: “Mark Adams has done an amazing job maintaining Mark Adams’ culture.”

The Red Raider defense against Kansas and four days later when it knocked off No.  1 Baylor looked a lot like what we all watched in 2018 and 2019 when Texas Tech basketball reached unprecedented heights.

The common denominator is Mark Adams. When Beard led Arkansas-Little Rock to a great season before coming to Lubbock, Mark Adams was on the bench with him.

After Beard made  his deal to lead Texas during breakfast at the Plainview McDonald’s, the Red Raider Nation was upset, hurt, furious … and if was physically possible, they would have been beside themselves.

Then I started noticing how many members of the 2019 Red Raider team that almost won a national championship used social media to promote hiring Adams.

Once Kirby Hocutt promoted Adams, many of those former players posted on social media:

Davide Morretti: “Congrats, coach … I feel way better today.” He also called Adams, “the most charismatic and genuine person” he’s ever met.

Norense Odiase: “Guns up. Horns down. It just got real. I love it!”

Matt Mooney:  “This is big time!! One of the fiercest competitors I’ve ever been around on top of being one of the most genuine people I’ve ever been around. This dude can coach!  Congrats, Coach Adams.”

So on Feb. 1,  instead of booing, yelling and holding up signs about Beard … what if the best answer is silence?

I told this to a friend, who said, “That’s not going to happen.”

Give me a few minutes to explain why silence could be golden.

Probably not … but give me a few minutes to explain why silence could be golden.

Why waste energy on someone who didn’t want to be here? And why waste any more energy on Texas than Red Raider fans have done for decades? Texas Tech no longer needs to be in the same conference with Texas and Texas A&M as I wrote a few months ago.

Mark Adams stayed … and we know Beard wanted him to come to Austin with him.

So on February 1, when Beard comes out on the floor with his team and they’re introduced, the Raider Riot student section (which Beard helped develop) and other fans should turn away from the court and be silent.

Then they should cheer loudly when the Red Raiders are introduced.

Why not boo Beard?

Because he did us a favor in creating a void that Mark Adams was thrilled to fill.

Once the game begins, cheer for Tech and give Texas hell … like any other opponent led by any other coach.

Once the game begins, cheer for Tech and give Texas hell … like any other opponent led by any other coach.

Time will tell over the next few years which program truly got the better coach. I think we got the better coach, but that’s subjective in a sport that provides objective answers. People love to debate who’s better or where a team should be ranked. Some Tech fans are upset this week the Red Raiders only climbed one spot in the AP poll. In college basketball all that matters is did you make the NCAA Tournament and then how far did you get in March Madness. So we’ll see how both programs do over the next few years in the NCAA Tournament.

I think we’ll be just fine.

But Tech also got the better person.

Before he left Lubbock, it had become an open secret Beard wasn’t happy here, was becoming harder to work with and wearing out his welcome.

When Mark Adams was interviewed last week by a national reporter, he ended the interview by saying God bless to the interviewer. That’s West Texas class.

So God bless Chris Beard for giving us Mark Adams.