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Texas Tech men's basketball coach Chris Beard cuts down the rest of the net on Saturday, March 9, 2019, in the United Supermarkets Arena during the team's welcome home celebration after winning the Big 12 Championship.

Texas Tech men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard has been named a finalist for the 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year Award, Atlanta Tipoff Club announced on Wednesday, March 20.

In his third year as head coach at Tech, Beard led the team to its first Big 12 Championship and a 26-6 overall record, according to a Tech Athletics news release. Tech is 71-30 under Beard and 14-4 in conference play.

For the second consecutive year, Beard was also named Big 12 Coach of the Year. He was also named the Associated Press Big 12 coach of the year this season.

The three other finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year award include Tennessee’s Rick Barnes, Virginia’s Tony Bennett and Houston’s Kelvin Sampson.

Barnes has led the Volunteers to a 29-5 record on the year and No. 6 in the national rankings, according to sports-reference.com. Tennessee is a No. 2 seed in the south bracket of the NCAA tournament and is set to play Colgate on Friday, March 22. Tennessee finished the year 15-3 in the conference play and second in the SEC.

Bennett and the Cavaliers finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country and 29-3 on the year, according to sports-reference.com. After getting upset at last year’s tournament, he led his team to the top seed in the south bracket and will face Gardner-Webb on Friday, March 22.

Sampson is the third finalist for the award after leading Houston to a 31-3 overall record and first place in the American Athletic Conference. The Cougars are the No. 3 seed in the Midwest bracket and will face Georgia State for its first-round game on Friday, March 22. The Cougars were 16-2 in conference play and finished first in the AAC, according to sports-reference.com.  

Fans can vote for their pick at naismithtrophy.com/vote from Friday, March 22, until Wednesday, April 3, according to the release.

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