Chris Beard is set to be a Power Five head coach again.
Ole Miss announced Monday it had hired the former Texas head coach as its new men’s basketball coach. Beard was fired by Texas in early January after he was charged with felony domestic violence following a dispute with his fiancée at their home in Austin in December.
The charge against Beard was dropped in mid-February. The Travis County District Attorney said the charge could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt “after a careful and thorough review of the evidence” and public statements by Beard’s fiancée. Shortly after Beard was arrested, Beard’s fiancée said through a statement from her attorney that she had initiated the confrontation with Beard and that he had acted in self-defense.
Police officers had said they observed a bite mark on her right arm and abrasions on her body after they were called.
Beard was immediately placed on leave after his arrest and Rodney Terry was elevated to become the team’s interim coach.
"We are excited to welcome Coach Beard and his daughters, Avery, Ella and Margo, to the Ole Miss family," Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter said in a statement. "We thoroughly evaluated a number of outstanding candidates, and there is no doubt Coach Beard is one of the top coaches in the nation. 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."
Ole Miss fired Kermit Davis in February
The Rebels made a head coaching change on Feb. 24 when they fired Kermit Davis with three games to go in the regular season. Ole Miss was 10-18 overall and 2-13 in the SEC when Davis was fired. The Rebels went 1-2 in their final three regular-season games under interim coach Win Case.
Ole Miss hasn’t made the NCAA tournament since 2019 and hasn’t advanced to the second weekend of the tournament since 2013. The Rebels have made just two NCAA appearances since it made it to the Sweet 16 as a No. 12 seed 10 years ago.
Davis compiled a 74-79 record since 2018-19 at Ole Miss. He came to the Rebels from Middle Tennessee State. Ole Miss had a winning record in just one of its seasons since making the tournament in Davis’ first season with the team.
Beard has a .701 winning percentage
Beard was eight games into his second season at Texas before he was placed on leave by the school. The Longhorns were 7-1 at the time and went 22-12 in 2021-22.
He came to Texas after five years at Texas Tech where the Red Raiders made the NCAA tournament three times and advanced to the Final Four in 2019. Texas Tech was 31-7 that season and lost to Virginia in the national title game.
Before he was hired at Tech, Beard was the head coach at Little Rock for a season in 2015-16. Little Rock was 30-5 that season and made it to the tournament as a No. 12 seed. The Trojans upset No. 5 Purdue before losing to No. 4 seed Iowa State in the second round.