Ole Miss hires Chris Beard as men's basketball coach

Ole Miss has hired Chris Beard as the Rebels' next men's basketball coach, the school announced Monday.

ESPN reported last week Beard had emerged as the leading candidate for the job, with the two sides in contact and Ole Miss officials doing their due diligence before moving forward with hiring the former Texas coach.

"I am honored to be joining the Ole Miss family and excited to get started at this great university," Beard said in a statement. "I can't express how grateful I am to Chancellor Boyce, [vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics] 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!"

Beard was fired by the Longhorns in January following an arrest Dec. 12. His fiancée, Randi Trew, called 911 and told officers that he choked her from behind, bit her and hit her when the two got in an argument, according to authorities.

Trew then released a statement Dec. 23 in which she denied telling police that Beard choked her and said she "initiated a physical struggle" with Beard. On Feb. 15, the charges were dropped after Travis County District Attorney Jose Garza reviewed the evidence and took into account Trew's wishes not to prosecute Beard.

Garza's office determined the charges could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

"I am pleased with the announcement that the charges against me have been dismissed," Beard said in a statement at the time. "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. 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."

Beard had been linked to the Ole Miss job since the school fired Kermit Davis on Feb. 24. Davis went 74-79 over five seasons and failed to reach the NCAA tournament after his first season there.

"We are excited to welcome Coach Beard and his daughters, Avery, Ella and Margo, to the Ole Miss family," Carter said. "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."

Beard's coaching acumen is considered among the best in college basketball. He led Texas Tech to the national title game in 2019 and has coached three different programs to the NCAA tournament since 2016.

He was in his second season at Texas with a team that reached the AP top 10 before his dismissal.