The high cost of basketball: What Little Rock came up with to keep Chris Beard | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The high cost of basketball: What Little Rock came up with to keep Chris Beard

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 3:19 PM

click to enlarge CHASSE CONQUE: Did his best to keep winning basketball coach, but couldn't match Vegas.
  • CHASSE CONQUE: Did his best to keep winning basketball coach, but couldn't match Vegas.
Success is expensive, Little Rock Athletic Director Chasse Conque learned this week.

Chris Beard, who coached the Little Rock Trojans to a 30-5 season and a first-round NCAA victory in his first year as men's baketball coach, departed UALR yesterday for the University of Nevada Las Vegas for a coaching opening most reports indicate should pay $1 million a year or better on a five-year deal.

Beard was under contract for $230,000 at Little Rock (or up to $260,000 with bonuses). Conque had said initially when I asked about Little Rock's offer to improve Beard's situation at the end of the year: 

We did not get to the point where the specifics were drawn up - just a conversation about what the new deal would look like. This included an increase in pay to get him to the top 25% in the Sun Belt and willingness to invest in his assistant coaches where needed. We also talked big picture about scheduling philosophy (which requires resources) along with recruiting, nutrition for the student-athletes and team travel needs - again, a comprehensive conversation about the program.
I pressed for specifics, which Conque provided. He added that the ability to raise money for Beard from private sources might have been easier, after last season, than for a new hire. But he said the school intended to be competitive.

In any case, Conque said the school had come up with a $400,000 annual guarantee for Beard — a $250,000 base salary and $150,000 for TV/radio shows raised from private sources. The existing contracted bonus structure would have remained the same, though perhaps with an added bonus should he win national coach of the year and an increase from $2,500 to $5,000 for conference coach of the year.

Conque was philosophical about the plight of a "mid-major school." Great success puts the coach on the radar of far richer schools.

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