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Ole Miss Extends Chris Beard Before SEC Tournament

Chris Beard received a contract extension with the Ole Miss Rebels entering the 2024 offseason.

Chris Beard is sticking around in Oxford for the long term. 

Ole Miss and the first-year basketball coach have agreed to terms on a new contract, the university announced Wednesday prior to the start of the SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tenn. 

Hired following his dismissal from Texas, Beard signed a four-year deal worth $3.25 million in base pay for the 2023-24 season. Beard was due to make $3.35 million in 2024-25, according to the terms of the new deal. 

"I appreciate Chancellor (Glenn) Boyce, (Athletic Director Keith Carter) and the rest of the Ole Miss administration and their belief in my staff and my ability to build a championship program in Oxford," Beard said in a release. "I also want to express my gratitude to the Ole Miss fan base and alumni for their dedication to our players and program. The homecourt advantage created this season was instrumental in our first steps toward becoming a championship-level program, and we look forward to building a stronger connection with the students and fans in the years to come."

Chris Beard, Brandon Murray

In his first season with the Rebels, Beard brought fire to the court, defeating programs like Texas A&M, Florida, Mississippi State and Missouri. Ole Miss finished with a 20-11 overall record and went 13-0 in nonconference games, earning a spot in the AP Poll for the first time in five seasons.

The Rebels finished 7-11 in SEC play after starting off 5-3, earning the No. 10 seed in the SEC Tournament. Under the final two years of the Kermit Davis era, Ole Miss entered the tournament as the No. 13 seed. 

"The future of Ole Miss basketball could not be brighter under Coach Beard's leadership," Carter said in a statement. "His impact on every facet of our program was immediately apparent, and it has translated to a new standard of success and a culture that is building every day. He has galvanized Rebel Nation, and particularly our student body, and created a newfound passion for men's basketball that is felt throughout the entire Ole Miss community. We could not be more excited to strengthen our investment in the program and can't wait to see what the many years ahead hold with Coach Beard leading our team."

Ole Miss ranked 90th in the NET entering the tournament, meaning it'll have to go on a run in the Music City to clinch a spot in the national tournament beginning next week. The Rebels likely have to win at least three games for consideration, and it starts by taking on No. 7-seed Texas A&M on Thursday at 6 p.m.

The Aggies throttled Ole Miss in the regular-season finale, 86-60, behind a career-high 25-point game from Manny Obaseki.

"We just want to apologize to everybody," Beard said following the loss. "I'll check with Keith and see what the rules are on this, but anybody that paid money to come see this game today, I'd like you to get reimbursed. We'll check the NCAA rules on that stuff, but just want to apologize. That's not the effort that you spend your time and money on to come watch."

Before he arrived in Oxford, Beard coached at Angelo State, Arkansas Little Rock, Texas Tech, and Texas. Since 2013, Beard has led his programs to the NCAA Tournament five times, including a national championship appearance with the Red Raiders in 2019.