Ole Miss has hired former Texas coach Chris Beard, the school announced on Monday. Representatives for the school and Beard's camp have been working for more than a week to parse through the delicate vetting process and legal obstacles required to clear the former Texas coach to accept another head-coaching position, sources told CBS Sports. Beard was identified publicly as the leading candidate last week, and now the two sides have come to agreement.
"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."
Beard is 237-98 in his career and 171-73 at the Division I level. Prior to taking over his alma mater in 2021, he led Texas Tech for five seasons and brought the Red Raiders to their first and only Final Four in 2019 which led to a national title game appearance. Prior to the incident that triggered his firing from Texas, Beard had quickly built a reputation as one of college basketball's more formidable head coaches.
The Rebels fired former coach Kermit Davis on Feb. 24.
"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!"
Ole Miss hiring Beard is guaranteed to draw attention and inevitably invite criticism.
The 50-year-old has been out of the profession since early December when he was arrested on a felony domestic violence charge while serving as head coach at Texas. The charge was subsequently dropped in February.
Beard's fiancée, Randi Trew, called 911 early in the morning hours of Dec. 12 and told authorities Beard allegedly "choked me, threw me off the bed, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around, and going nuts."
Eleven days later, on Dec. 23, Trew retracted many parts of her initial statement to police and claimed responsibility for triggering the incident that night in their home.
In her Dec. 23 statement, Trew said, "Chris did not strangle me, and I told that to law enforcement that evening. 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."
Texas ultimately fired Beard for cause on Jan. 5. A little over one month later, on Feb. 15, the Travis County District Attorney's Office in Austin, Texas, dropped the felony charge against Beard on a determination that the case could not be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt."