Ole Miss announced the hiring of Chris Beard as its next men’s basketball coach on Monday.
Contract terms were not announced.
The opportunity came about relatively quickly for Beard, 50, who was fired by Texas on Jan. 5 after an alleged domestic violence incident was reported in December. He initially was suspended indefinitely without pay, but in a letter to Beard’s attorney regarding his termination, a Texas official called Beard “unfit” to lead the Longhorns.
Charges were dropped against Beard on Feb. 15.
Ole Miss said it did its research into Beard before hiring him.
“We thoroughly evaluated a number of outstanding candidates, and there is no doubt Coach Beard is one of the top coaches in the nation,” athletic director Keith Carter said in a news release. “After conducting due diligence and speaking to a number of individuals on and off the court, it was evident he is the right person to guide our team to greatness.
“At each stop in his career, Coach Beard has proven to be a program builder and a dynamic leader whose teams exhibit relentless effort. He is a tireless recruiter and develops talent to reach their greatest potential. He has coached at multiple levels of college basketball and has competed for championships at every school. Simply put, Coach Beard is a winner, and Ole Miss Basketball’s best years are ahead of us under his leadership.”
The Ole Miss job came open when Kermit Davis was fired on Feb. 24, and Beard thanked administrators for their confidence.
“I am honored to be joining the Ole Miss family and excited to get started at this great university,” Beard said. “I can’t express how grateful I am to Chancellor (Glenn) Boyce, Keith Carter and the rest of the search committee for their belief in me to lead this program.”
Beard went 112-55 in five seasons as head coach at Texas Tech before being hired away by Texas, his alma mater. He led the 2018-19 Red Raiders to the NCAA Tournament title game, falling to Virginia 85-77 in overtime.
He is a four-time conference coach of the year and the 2019 national coach of the year and has a career coaching record of 171-73. He has taken three programs to the NCAA Tournament, including Little Rock, which he coached for one season (2015-16) to a 30-5 record and a win over No. 5 seed Purdue in the first round.
At Texas, Beard went 29-13 in parts of two seasons. The Longhorns were 7-1 this season before Beard was suspended.
Under interim coach Rodney Terry, the Longhorns finished the season 26-8 and are a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They will face Colgate on Thursday in Midwest Region play.
Ole Miss finished the season 12-21 with a 3-15 mark in Southeastern Conference play.
–Field Level Media