Former Texas coach Chris Beard has emerged as the leading candidate for the men’s basketball job at Ole Miss, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
The sides have been in recent contact, sources told ESPN, and Ole Miss officials are in the process of doing their due diligence on Beard.
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.
Trew then released a statement on 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 charge 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.”
That arrest, subsequent denial and the dropped charges have left Ole Miss officials to carefully do their due diligence on Beard, who has 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 landing there in his first season.
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 led 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.