A Texas Tech basketball fan could have a local celebrity, head coach Chris Beard, make an appearance at her wedding after a tweet she made on August 1.
Sophomore Rylee Albracht followed the men’s basketball team as the Red Raiders had one of the most historic seasons in program history, ending in the national championship game of the NCAA Tournament.
“I just finished up my first year at Tech and following the basketball team around this season was absolutely amazing,” Albracht said. “I’ve always been a huge basketball fan and a huge Tech basketball fan, but just being a student this year made it so much more cool. I followed them to New York City to play at Madison Square Garden and then followed them to Minneapolis to play in the Final Four so I was just really emotionally invested in this basketball team and loved cheering them on.”
Albracht's fiancé Justin Joyce also traveled to the Red Raiders’ games in Minnesota and New York, making it feel like he was a part of the team.
“It was a lot of fun,” Joyce said. “It felt like we were a part of the team because we went to all the early season games and went to every home game we could go to, so it was a lot of fun.”
While the two enjoyed watching the Red Raiders, Albracht said she also liked Beard because she could relate with him.
“I just think that he is a good Christian man that I share a lot of interests and values with and a lot of viewpoints with,” Albracht said. “I really just like the way that he lives life. I just am inspired by him.”
After being emotionally invested in the team and Beard, Albracht tagged the head coach in a tweet the day after Joyce proposed to her, asking him how many retweets she needed for him to officiate her wedding, thinking she would not get a response.
“I kind of tweeted it, obviously with high hopes, but I know the man is busy and Twitter is probably the least of his worries,” Albracht said. “I think I might have hyperventilated when he answered me.”
Beard quickly replied about five hours after Albracht made the tweet, congratulating her and asking when the wedding was. Two days later, Beard replied for a second time, telling her that if the student section is 100 percent filled with 4,500 students at Tech’s first home game of the season he will attend and buy everyone Whataburger at her wedding.
“It’s insane,” Albracht said. “Honestly, I almost feel famous. There are so many people reaching out to me and just asking questions and it’s probably the coolest thing ever if it actually happens. It’s unreal. I don’t even know how to explain it."
Joyce also was shocked that his fiancé’s tweet got a response from the Red Raiders’ leader because he said Beard does not tweet very often.
“I didn’t think there was any way he was gonna reply,” Joyce said. “He doesn’t tweet just a whole lot and I’ve never seen anything like that, so I really didn’t think there was a chance he would reply but whenever he did, I was just blown away. I couldn’t really believe that he had actually replied.”
With Beard’s proposal, Albracht said she is not worried about the Tech students packing the United Supermarkets Arena on November 5 for the Red Raiders’ first game of the season against Eastern Illinois.
“I know that every other Tech student has pride in Texas Tech like I do and I know they are going to have my back, and I that they are going to be (at Tech’s first game of the season),” Albracht said. “I have faith in them and I just really feel like they are going to have our backs and they’re going to show out.”
Knowing that Beard could possibly attend his wedding, Joyce said he it would special to have the coach in attendance.
“I don’t know how many people can actually say that, that Chris Beard went to their wedding,” Joyce said. “I really wouldn’t even know what to say, but just to get a ‘congratulations’ from him on Twitter was still pretty special.”
Albracht and Joyce have planned their wedding with Sincere Weddings as the two will have their special day in May 2020 at Autumn Oaks in Lubbock.
“I just hope that (Tech students) support me and my fiancé and show up so we can get this thing going,” Joyce said. “I think it could happen and I hope it does.”