Texas names Terry as full-time coach after Elite Eight run
By JIM VERTUNO
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas on Monday named Rodney Terry as full-time head basketball coach, removing the interim tag after he led the Longhorns to the Elite Eight following the midseason firing of Chris Beard.
The school tweeted the news of Terry's appointment and scheduled a Tuesday news conference to introduce him as head coach going forward.
The announcement came barely 24 hours after the Longhorns' season ended when Texas was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Miami on Sunday. Financial terms and years of the agreement were not immediately available.
Rewarding Terry with the promotion was no surprise.
He took over the Longhorns as acting head coach when Beard was first suspended on Dec. 12 after a felony domestic violence arrest. Terry was then given the title of interim head coach when Beard was fired Jan. 5. The charge against Beard was dismissed in February.
Texas won the Big 12 Tournament championship under Terry and questions about his future with the program were amplified as the Longhorns kept winning in the postseason. Texas fans wondered what more he needed to prove and Longhorns players publicly advocated for him to get the job.
“It was all about this team. I’ve enjoyed every single day of this journey with this group,” Terry said in Sunday’s postgame news conference as his voice cracked and he held back tears. “It was never about me. It was always about these guys. I love these guys.”
Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte had praised Terry’s job handling the team in crisis and gave him a raise, though only through April. He’d also noted Terry inherited a veteran, senior-heavy roster and strong staff of assistants built by Beard.
That lineup could have disintegrated into chaos after Beard’s arrest. Instead, the Longhorns finished second in the Big 12 in the regular season and earned a No. 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Texas went 22-8 under Terry, and he march to the Elite Eight was the program's first time beyond the NCAA Tournament’s first weekend in 15 years.
Terry is the second Black head coach in program history, joining Shaka Smart, who coached Texas from 2015-2021.
Terry, 54, had a previous stint as an assistant at Texas under Rick Barnes from 2002-2011. He also was head coach at Fresno State and UTEP. He left UTEP after three seasons to join Beard’s staff in 2022. He is 185-164 as a head coach.
Former Texas player T.J. Ford, who led the Longhorns to 2003 Final Four and was that season's Naismith national player of the year, praised the move to keep Terry.
“I’m very excited that the right decision was made to continue this great culture,” Ford tweeted.
The dormant Texas program had all the signs of renewal under Beard, as he mined the transfer portal to build a roster to compete in the rugged Big 12. He had done the same at Texas Tech, where he led the Red Raiders to the 2019 national championship game.
Beard was arrested after his fiancée called 911 and told police he choked, bit and hit her during a confrontation at his home. She later recanted that she was choked, but Texas still fired Beard as university lawyers called him “unfit” to lead the program.
The Travis County district attorney eventually dismissed the felony charge, saying the charge could not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, and because of the fiancee's wish to not prosecute.
Beard has since been hired at Mississippi.
AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Updated March 27, 2023