Current UNLV Basketball head coach and former Texas Tech assistant Chris Beard has emerged as the front-runner to replace Tubby Smith at Texas Tech.

Less than 18 hours after Smith spurned Texas Tech to go to the Memphis Tigers, Texas Tech University Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt and university officials were on a private plane to Las Vegas to meet with Beard.

Late Thursday night, CBS8 in Las Vegas captured footage of Beard leaving a meeting with Texas Tech officials as their charter plane sat on the tarmac at Henderson Executive Airport.

Chris Beard spent 10 seasons at Texas Tech as an assistant coach and associate head coach under both Bob Knight and Pat Knight from 2001-2011. He then became a head coach at McMurry for the 2012-2013 season.

Beard moved south to Angelo State for a two-year stint as head coach from 2013-2015. Last season, Beard led Arkansas-Little Rock to a Sun Belt Conference Championship before moving on to UNLV two weeks ago.

Beard's NCAA coaching record is 96-30, going 1-1 in NCAA Division I tournament games and 2-1 in NCAA Division II tournament games. He also earned the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year Award for the 2015-2016 season.

Beard's UNLV buyout is $1 million, while Smith's Texas Tech buyout was $900,000.