Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter announced on Monday Chris Beard will be the new head coach for the school’s men’s basketball team. Beard will assume his role as the 23rd head coach in the program’s history three months after allegations surfaced regarding an assault involving his fiancée.
“We are excited to welcome Coach Beard and his daughters, Avery, Ella, and Margo, to the Ole Miss family,” Carter said in a press 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.”
“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,” Beard said. “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.”
Beard was previously the head coach at the University of Texas. He compiled a 29-13 record over two years, including a 22-12 record and a second-round finish in the 2022 NCAA Tournament in his first season.
In the latest development in the legal case against Chris Beard, a Texas prosecutor dismissed a felony domestic violence charge against him on February 15. The charge, which was related to an alleged assault by strangulation/suffocation-family violence against his fiancée Randi Trew, could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, according to Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza.
According to the official arrest report, his fiancée, Randi Trew, called 911 and told officers that he choked her from behind, bit her, and hit her when the two argued. Beard’s fiancée alleged that they got into an argument, she grabbed Beard’s glasses out of his hands and broke them, and then he choked her.
As noted above, the charges were later dropped after Trew decided not to prosecute Beard. She said Beard did not strangle her despite telling police he did and that he was only acting in self-defense from her. On December 12, Orangebloods reporter Anwar Richardson released the affidavit via Twitter.
On December 23, his fiancee said, “As Chris’ fiancée and biggest supporter, I apologize for the role I played in this unfortunate event. I realize that my frustration when breaking his glasses initiated a physical struggle between Chris and myself. Chris has stated that he was acting in self-defense, and I do not refute that. I do not believe Chris was trying to intentionally harm me in any way. It was never my intent to have him arrested or prosecuted. We appreciate everyone’s support and prayers during this time.”
After Travis County dismissed the case, Beard said, “I am pleased with the announcement that the charges against me have been dismissed. While I always had faith and confidence in the truth and this outcome, it has been extremely challenging to wait patiently and not publicly respond.”
Beard also apologized to his family, friends, former players, staff, and fans and supporters of the University of Texas, saying, “I’m sorry and deeply remorseful to my family, friends, all my players and staff both most recent and past, and everyone at my alma mater The University of Texas.”
Chris Beard is heading to Oxford, Mississippi. Despite the recent legal controversy, Chris Beard’s coaching career speaks for itself, and it’s clear he’s still capable of success. He has proven himself to be one of the best coaches in college basketball, having led three different programs to the NCAA Tournament since 2016, including a run to the National Championship game in 2019 with Texas Tech. That same year he was named the AP National Coach of the Year.
Beard boasts an impressive 237-98 record, winning 70.7 percent of the games he’s served as head coach. He also has a remarkable 10-4 (.714) history at the NCAA Tournament when coaching a Division I program.
While the domestic violence charge and subsequent dismissal are a black mark on his record, his hiring as the head coach of the Ole Miss Rebels has been met with excitement from the University. He is expected to bring high-caliber talent with his successful recruiting track record.
Consistently excelling in recruitment, Coach Beard has secured top-10 class rankings in 2022, 2020, and 2018. For example, his 2022 class at the University of Texas garnered a No. 6 national ranking from 247Sports and No. 8 from Rivals. Similarly, his final class at Texas Tech in 2020 received high acclaim, with Rivals ranking it at No. 7 and 247Sports placing it at No. 11. Notably, before Texas Tech’s 2018-19 season that culminated in a national runner-up finish, Beard’s recruiting class was ranked No. 8 by Rivals.
Ole Miss fired Kermit Davis on February 24 after he went 74-79 over five seasons and failed to reach the NCAA tournament since his first season. With Beard’s hiring, the program hopes to return to the success it enjoyed under former coach Andy Kennedy, who led the team to the NCAA tournament twice in his 12-year tenure. Chris Beard is their best bet.
“We are going to work tirelessly to build a championship-caliber program,” Beard said regarding coming to Ole Miss. “I can’t wait to connect with our players and recruits and begin this journey together. Hotty Toddy!”
Only time will tell how the legal controversy will continue to affect Beard’s coaching career. Still, he is focused on building a championship-caliber program at Ole Miss and continuing his success on the court.
Do you think Chris Beard deserves an opportunity this soon? Let us know in the comments.