On Thursday afternoon, the University of Texas announced they would be firing Chris Beard amidst an assault charge in December. What coaches will be candidates to replace Beard as the head coach in Texas?
Chris Beard’s Assault Charge
I feel it’s meaningful, to begin with how this all came to fruition. On December 12, 2022, Chris Beard was suspended indefinitely without pay due to an assault charge on a family member, his fiancée. According to the police report, the assault charge was due to ‘impeding breath circulation,’ also known as strangulation. He has not been with the Texas program since, and the University has been conducting its investigation. However, news has circulated in recent weeks regarding the alleged assault.
On December 23, news broke that Chris Beard’s fiancée retracted the assault allegations. In her statement, she says, “I realize that my frustration, when breaking his glasses, initiated a physical struggle between Chris and myself. 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.” The University would still eventually let go of Beard, leaving a vacancy for the head coaching job. What coaches will be candidates to take the job?
Coaches For Texas
Three coaches stand out amongst everyone in the field. These are my favorites to land the head coaching job. Rick Pitino, Eric Musselman, and Royal Ivey. Other coaches will be considered, and someone else may even get the job. However, this would be my shortlist if I were the athletic director.
Let’s start with Rick Pitino; this is odd, considering Texas fired Chris Beard over allegations. So the Longhorns mean no funny business, which is ironic, being that funny business was Rick Pitino’s middle name at Louisville. But, in early November last year, he was exonerated when the IARP ruled Pitino should not be punished for the 2017 pay-for-play scandal, which cost him his job at Louisville. Nevertheless, Pitino led the Iona Gaels to the NCAA tournament in 2021 and shows he still has some coaching left.
Next is Eric Musselman. Musselman has done a fantastic job during his time at the Arkansas Razorbacks. He has led the razorbacks to back-to-back elite eight appearances; not only can he coach, but he also brought in the second-ranked recruiting class according to 247-sports. Texas has the money and resources for Musselman to thrive at Texas, a move that can keep the Longhorns recruits together and keep them in contention for a National Championship.
Alright time to get serious Eric Musselman is the most Texas coach of all time — Cyclone Larry (@CycloneLarry69) January 5, 2023
Lastly is Royal Ivey. If you are a casual basketball fan, this one might be a head-scratcher to you. Royal Ivey was one of the candidates in 2021 when Texas eventually hired Chris Beard. He is currently an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets; however, he has ties to Texas, playing for them from 2000 to 2004. The only downside is his lack of head coaching experience and the recruiting trail in college. Nevertheless, a former Longhorn and current Brooklyn Nets member gave Ivey an endorsement for the Texas coaching job back in 2021, and I can only imagine he does the same this go-round.
With the Chris Beard news, I was shocked to see him fired this early, but I completely get it. Chris Beard is one of the most prominent coaches college basketball has to offer; in one of my early prediction articles, I had Texas as one of the favorites to win the National Championship, just in my belief of how good a coach Chris Beard was.
But now it’s time to move on. As a Louisville fan, the Pitino fiasco still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, so I won’t be a screaming endorser for him. Texas, however, is not Louisville, and the Longhorns might have enough belief in him. My number one target is Eric Musselman. Musselman is a program changer; you won’t drown with him and know what you’ll get. I wanted him at Louisville when finding a Chris Mack replacement. He is truly a jack of all trades. He can coach his butt off, recruit, and even wins the transfer portal.
The announcement for a new coach will not come out until after the season ends. Until then, everything is just speculation. I will be revisiting this article when a new coach gets announced to see how well I did with my predictions.