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Red Raider basketball coach strikes a bargain with a bride-to-be

“You bring the fans to the game, I’ll bring Whataburger to your wedding”

Rylee Albracht and Justin Joyce are counting on 4,498 of their closest friends at Texas Tech to make their dream wedding a reality.

If the 4,500 seats in the Red Raiders student section are full for the season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 5, Tech basketball coach Chris Beard says he will be at the couple’s wedding in May. Even better: He’ll bring Whataburger for all the guests.

Update: They did it! All 4,500 seats of the Red Raiders student section at the United Supermarkets Arena were filled for the November 5 season opener against Eastern Illinois, where the Raiders won 85-60. Thanks to 1,500 custom Texas Tech Whataburger table tents, 4,500 taquito coupons, and all of you – Rylee and Justin will have Coach Beard at their dream wedding!

Guns up! These diehard fans cheered Beard and his team on their Final Four journey last year in Minneapolis.

“We’ve invested a lot in that team,” Albracht says. “We’ve loved seeing Coach Beard transform this program.”

So just a few days after getting engaged to her high school sweetheart, Albracht was joking/not joking when she tweeted her request to have the charismatic Beard officiate their wedding.

“Hey @CoachBeardTTU, how many retweets for you to officiate my wedding?” she asked.

The Whataburger-loving coach wrote back with some conditions. “Our first game of the season is Tues November 5. If the student section is 100% filled with 4500 students, I will be at your wedding and will provide Whataburger for everyone there.”

“When he responded, I was blown away,” says Albracht, a junior kinesiology major. She and Joyce, a senior kinesiology major, are rolling with the twist in wedding planning and their sudden celebrity status.

"I’ve learned to say, ‘yes, Honey,’ ” Joyce told Beard in the coach’s fireside chat this week when the coach asked about wedding planning.

He also told the coach he’s confident the student section will fill up with 4,500 Red Raiders.

Dust off your wedding duds for May 2020, Coach Beard! We can help with the Whataburger for the 450 guests on the list.

And no matter who officiates the ceremony, Albracht and Joyce are looking forward to tying the knot. The two, who met through friends at their rival high schools in the Texas Panhandle, have dated since Albracht was a freshman in high school.

By her junior year in high school, she knew they would say “I do.” Now she’s hoping their nuptials will have a special Red Raider and Whataburger Orange twist.

Whataburger has focused on its fresh, made-to-order burgers and friendly customer service since 1950 when Harmon Dobson opened the first Whataburger as a small roadside burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. Today, the company is headquartered in San Antonio with more than 900 locations across its 14-state footprint and sales of more than $3 billion annually. Whataburger is a 2022 Top Workplaces winner. The brand has more than 50,000 Family Members (employees) and more than 60 million customers who like to customize their Whataburgers just like they like it. Visit whataburger.com for more information. To apply for Whataburger jobs, visit whataburger.com/careers.

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