Chris Beard is a very charming guy. A good guy. He’s got a lot of funny stories, cute daughters, and a happy-to-be-here disposition that is almost impossible to dislike. Almost.
And look, before we get there, I agree. It’s not fair that I chose a picture that makes him look like Dr. Evil just trapped Austin Powers in an impossible situation, but it was there, and how am I not going to use it?
Not when the whole point of writing this is to make it clear: I’m on to you, Coach Beard. Boiler Nation is on to you.
Be as charming and complimentary of the Purdue basketball program and Coach Painter as you want.
“We have nothing but respect for Purdue’s program. I’m kind of a fan of their team. Any time I have a chance to watch a game, whether I am recruiting, at a restaurant somewhere, late night going through the channels, probably saw Purdue five or six times this year just as a fan. Coach Painter has been somebody that has been great to me in my career.”
Yes, he has. Not only do they go way back, but they go three years back when Chris Beard’s name was put on the radar when his Arkansas Little-Rock team shook the world and upset the 5-seeded Purdue Boilermakers after trailing by 12 points with 3 minutes remaining in the game. I would be complimentary of someone who helped get me to a Big 12 program that’s now on a meteoric rise to a 3-seed, too.
But it doesn’t just stop with praise. Chris Beard is funny. Not only is he coach funny, he’s funny-funny. He’s a ‘I’ve got a story to tell that’s so funny you’re not going to even question how I got here’ funny. Not right away at least, while everyone’s laughing, but later, now, while you’re typing this and wondering how in the little bit of time a coach has to speak to the press at the raised media table that Coach Beard found himself with his two daughters at the other side of the long table.
After being asked about how the 2,000 mile trek to Boston might affect his team, Beard, noticing a chance to tell a funny story, took his shot.
“You’re talking to a guy who used to drive the bus and the van 18 hours to get somewhere. At this level, when people talk about travel or distance or weather, it’s like comical. We’re on a jet that has a heater in it. It only took three hours to get here. When we got here, we’re eating unbelievable food at the hotel.”
And just to make sure, he’s not here to crap on reporters. In fact, he’ll comfort them as he goes around their wanted narrative to get to the punchline.
“I understand the question and all that, but like from my point of view, I’m just glad I’m not driving a 15-passenger van that doesn’t have a heater that has a gas leak and only an AM radio - which AM radio is not bad. AM radio is great. It teaches you, kind of, the history. Great talk radio on AM radio.”
And now I’m sure I’ve been transported from TD Garden to Laugh Boston. This dude isn’t a coach anymore, he’s straight doing a bit.
“I need to get my - that’s what I’m going to do today for my daughters. I’m going to teach them about AM radio. Delilah? Remember that talk show Delilah? When I was in junior college, I used to listen to The Delilah Show.”
There it is. The punchline. Beard is so comfortable he’s working on his stand-up routine. And why is he so comfortable? Because that’s just who he is. He’s just happy to be here, Beard. The blessed to have made it to Boston, Beard, even if he isn’t sleeping (so he says).
“This is special. I haven’t been able to sleep for a lot of reasons - Purdue, Coach Painter, but also just having so much fun. Like I don’t want to waste a minute of this. Really to the purity, that’s where it’s at.”
That’s just. That’s.
Scroll back up to the picture. Look again. Remember. This is Dr. Evil, it doesn’t matter that he’s played by the same person as the hero of the story, he’s evil.
Purdue will play Texas Tech on Friday. By all measures, regardless of score, both teams will leave as a program that does things right, with coaches who do things right, but that doesn’t mean we can’t fabricate some sports hate in the next 24 hours.
Even if it’ll be sad to see Coach Beard step off stage.