ESPN reports that Ole Miss is reportedly nearing a deal to hire Chris Beard as the school’s next men’s basketball coach. Beard emerged as a leading candidate for the job last week, and now the two sides are working to finalize an agreement. The 50-year-old Beard now appears to be heading to an Ole Miss program that has struggled mightily over the past four years. The school fired former head coach Kermit Davis last month after the Rebels dropped their fourth consecutive game and fell to 2-13 in SEC play.
Beard, who coached at Texas from 2021-23, was fired by the school in January following an arrest on a felony domestic violence charge. His fiancée, Randi Trew, called 911 and told officers that Beard strangled, bit, and hit her during a confrontation in his home. She later said Beard didn’t choke her, and that he defended himself from her. She added that she never intended him to be arrested and prosecuted. On Feb. 15, the charges were dropped, in part because of Trew’s wishes not to prosecute.
Beard had five years left on a seven-year guaranteed contract that included a provision saying he could be fired for cause if he was charged with a felony or committed other behavior unbecoming of his position or that reflected poorly on the university. As for Beard, the former Longhorns coach owns a career record of 237-98 as a college head coach. Before arriving at Texas in 2021, he spent five seasons at Texas Tech (2016-21) and one year at Little Rock (2015-16). He led the Red Raiders to the Final Four and a spot in the national title game in 2019.
If hired, Beard’s new role would be a tough test at Ole Miss as they have been struggling to get past two wins in the NCAA since 2002. The university is rewarding Beard with a contract worth more than $20 million for five years. The mission of Ole Miss is to improve its position in the sports circuit, and Beard is confident that he can make a significant difference, utilizing his coaching expertise, innovation and experience to develop a successful basketball program for the university.