Texas Tech’s men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard hosted a student exclusive edition of the Fireside Chat at the Student Union Building on Monday.
The event occurred at 11:30 a.m. and opened with the introduction of Raider Riot President Arif Ljuso, Student Activities Board President Michelle Morris and Student Body President David Rivero. The show was filmed in front of around a hundred students who came to watch, with some appearing the background.
Beard started the Fireside Chat with a joke about how there was only one microphone to pass between the three guests.
“We have the one mic set here,” Beard said. “If we would’ve beat Virginia in the national championship, we might have had three mics. We’re still building the program here, so budget is always a concern.”
Following his joke to open up, Beard spoke with the three presidents of their respective organizations about what they were doing as the basketball season approaches, with the first game being at home against Eastern Illinois on Nov. 5.
Tying into the basketball season, Rivero said he is working on bringing basketball tailgates with the help of Tech Athletics and local donors. Morris said she and the Student Activities Board will host several events during the season. When the Red Raiders open their season at home, Ljuso said the Raider Riot will have a tailgate to celebrate the start of the season.
With the three students participating in the Fireside Chat, Morris said the opportunity was given to her after the media office for Tech basketball contacted the Student Activities Board office.
“I think that they were just reaching out to different presidents or different organizations so they can get kind of every different area of the school so that way they can get as much people as possible out for the game,” Morris said.
As the Student Activities Board president was a part of the student exclusive edition of the Fireside Chat, Morris said it was her first time meeting the basketball team’s head coach.
“Honestly, I was really shocked when they asked for me to be on the show, and so I kind of really was trying not to think about it until I got here because I didn’t want to make myself nervous,” Morris said. “It was a lot of fun on the show, and I was kind of prepped ahead of time knowing that he would kind of ask whatever he wanted to ask, so I just pretty much had to be ready for whatever questions he was going to throw at me.”
Morris added that the students involved did not know what questions Beard was going to ask them as she said, Tech Athletics’ media person told her that the basketball coach does not use a script for his shows.
Along with Morris, Ljuso was a part of Beard’s Fireside Chat. Ljuso represented Raider Riot as the organization’s president.
“I was working with Texas Tech Athletics in the marketing department, and I was actually running the promotions for basketball games these past two seasons, and we just kind of noticed all these guys in the front row at every game were consistently the same people, also they seemed like they were trying to do more than they were already doing,” Ljuso said. “So, I just got with them and we talked about (forming an organization) and I want to say it literally happened in five minutes. The organization was born.”
After filming the episode with Beard, Ljuso said it was not his first time meeting the head coach, but it was his first time to be on the Fireside Chat.
“It was great,” Ljuso said regarding being on the Fireside Chat with Beard. “It was a little nerve-wracking at first, but he’s a really really cool guy and just makes you feel comfortable so you kind of just open up a little bit.”
Following the three organizations’ presidents speaking with Beard, sophomore Rylee Albracht and her fiancé Justin Joyce stepped in front of the camera for a breaking news segment. In the segment, Albracht spoke about how Beard promised the engaged couple that he would go to their wedding and provide Whataburger if the student section was filled at the Red Raiders’ home opener.
The couple then sat in the seats next to Beard and answered questions about their relationship and wedding.
Ending the Fireside Chat, Beard said if students go to the first five home games of the season, they will be guaranteed a ticket to Tech’s home game against Kentucky on Jan. 25.
With the conclusion of the Fireside Chat, Tech student John Tedore stuck around because free pizza and basketball posters were provided for the students who watched.
“I’ve been a big fan of Tech basketball ever since 2016, right when coach Beard got here,” Tedore said. “I just wanted to come out and show that the students really care about Tech basketball, and I know he talks about having a strong student section, and I know that’s really important for opposing teams when they come in if we’re crazy”
After watching the Fireside Chat live, Tedore said he was glad he came to watch.
“(The show) was funny. Coach Beard has a great sense of humor,” Tedore said. “It was really fun to see him interact with the students. I think they normally film it at the USA, so I think this was good to have like a live audience to have more interaction with the students. It was definitely cool.”