AUSTIN, Texas — Texas has reached an agreement with Rodney Terry to be the Longhorns’ full-time head basketball coach, taking the interim tag off his title after he led the program to the Elite Eight following the midseason firing of Chris Beard, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press.
Texas was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Miami on Sunday, ending its longest postseason run since 2008. Terry and Texas officials reached the agreement Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the deal who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available.
Terry took over the Longhorns as acting head coach when Beard was first suspended on Dec. 12 after a felony domestic violence arrest. Terry was giving the title of interim head coach when Beard was fired Jan. 5.
Texas won the Big 12 Tournament championship and questions about Terry’s 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, Terry marched the program to a second-place regular season finish in the Big 12 and a No. 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
The Longhorns went 22-8 under Terry, and their march to the Elite Eight was the program’s first 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 they could not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and because of her wishes not to prosecute.
Beard has since been hired at Mississippi.