Ole Miss announced on Monday that it had hired Chris Beard as its next head men’s basketball coach. Beard has been one of the best coaches in college basketball over the last decade, earning AP Coach of the Year honors in 2019 while leading Texas Tech to a NCAA National Runner-up finish. Beard was hired by his alma mater, Texas, in 2021 but was fired in January 2023 after a December arrest for domestic assault. Those charges were later dropped.
“At each stop in his career, Coach Beard has proven to be a program builder and a dynamic leader whose teams exhibit relentless effort,” AD Keith Carter said in a statement. “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.”
On the court, Beard has been a success at every stop. Rising through the ranks from D-II McMurry and Angelo State up to D-I Little Rock, Texas Tech and finally with the Longhorns. Twice named Big 12 COY at Tech, Beard was Sun Belt COY in his lone season at Little Rock in which he won 30 games and took the Trojans to the NCAA Tournament. He was such a hot commodity in the Spring of 2016 that he was actually hired twice – first at UNLV then two weeks later changed course to Lubbock.
“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 Boyce, Keith Carter and the rest of the search committee for their belief in me to lead this program. I am really looking forward to being an active part of the Oxford community. I know we have one of the best venues in the country in the SJB Pavilion, and we are going to work tirelessly to build a championship caliber program. I can’t wait to connect with our players and recruits and begin this journey together. Hotty Toddy!”
At Ole Miss, Beard will look to join a select group of D-I men’s basketball coaches that have lead four different programs to the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels moved on from head coach Kermit Davis last month after five seasons at the helm with an overall losing record and just one NCAA appearance.
As soon as the charges were dropped in February, speculation ran rampant that he would be hired by another high-major D-I program during this cycle. Ole Miss became an odds-on favorite, following the earlier-than-needed firing of Davis as well as reports that Beard had been living in Mississippi following his firing from Texas.
Carter seemed to partially acknowledge the controversy in today’s press release, noting that “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.”
There is an introductory press conference scheduled for Tuesday, during which it is likely both Carter and Beard will face questions about the events of last December. Follow us on social media for updates!
credit to Ole Miss Athletics for the image