Ole Miss head coach Chris Beard Looks Forward to Tipoff in the Tad Pad and Honoring Former Rebel Coach Rob Evans
OXFORD, Miss.–The Ole Miss men’s basketball team takes on Sam Houston State on Friday night in a throwback game inside the Tad Smith Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. and the Rebels will honor former Ole Miss coach Rob Evans.
— Chris Beard (@CoachBeard) November 17, 2023
Head coach Chris Beard met with media on Thursday to discuss this upcoming matchup. Beard last coached a game in the Tad Pad in 2010 as an assistant at Texas Tech when they played in the NIT.
“It was a good game,” Beard said.
“I think the winner of that game got to go to New York City. AK (Andy Kennedy) was a personal friend of ours and still is. I remember seeing AK the night before the game and during the game. That was a one-possession finish.”
Chris Beard on the last time he coached a game in the Tad Pad as a Tech asst.
Beard added that it was his first time to Oxford back then, but not to Mississippi and the college town. “We were walking around that morning because it was an evening game,” he said. “A lot of memories from that trip, kind of disappointed that we couldn’t go to New York but excited for AK. We knew how hard he was building the program here.”
Ole Miss is off to a 3-0 start to the season coming off a 70-69 win over Detroit Mercy on Tuesday night. The Rebels have now turned their attention to Sam Houston State. Beard and his staff have taken the team inside the Tad Pad to practice to get them used to the environment.
“Wednesday we practiced inside the Tad Pad,” Beard said. “The day after a game is always more of a light type of practice. Shoots and getting the initial game plan in. We did get the guys over there twice in the Tad Pad to get them used to the environment,” he said.
“This morning, we had a full-speed practice,” Beard said. “Later tonight we will get some shots up. We will practice for about an hour.”
At the game, Ole Miss will honor former Ole Miss coach Rob Evans and former players.
— Ole Miss Men’s Basketball (@OleMissMBB) November 16, 2023
“Coach Evans and his wife (Carolyn) arrived in town this morning,” Beard said. “Coach joined us along with Mrs. Evans for the last 15 or 20 minutes of practice. He spoke to our team and all sorts of positives there. This is one of the real pioneers in our game. He is a legend.”
Coach Beard on former Ole Miss Coach Rob Evans
Beard added that Evans was a great college player starting in junior college at what is now Lubbock Christian University, before transferring to New Mexico State and later getting into coaching. Evans was at Ole Miss from 1992-98. Before arriving in Oxford, he was an assistant coach at three different spots: New Mexico State (1969-76), Texas Tech (1976-90) and Oklahoma State (1990-92).
“I think at the time as being assistant coach, he was one of three black coaches in all of college basketball as an assistant,” Beard said. “And obviously to be a head coach at different places including here in the SEC, he was just a pioneer. He is a great American. He has opened many doors for many many people,” Beard continued.
“So when you think of coach Evans and his family, it’s more than just basketball. Those of us that know him or those of us that know of him in terms of basketball, it’s really easy to talk about. He is a National Coach of the Year, and an SEC Coach of the Year. He built the program here.”
Coach Beard on Coach Evans
Beard added that when Evans took the job at Ole Miss the program was at a certain level and when he left it, it was a million times better.
“A championship coach, NBA players and people on his staff moving on to opportunities including head coaches,” Beard said. “It’s awesome to honor coach, his family and his wife, all the players that played for him and all the staff members that were with him. There is obviously a lot going on this weekend with this game.”
Ole Miss will take the court at 8 p.m. Friday and play host to Sam Houston State in the Tad Smith Coliseum.
Adam Brown joins The Rebel Walk as a Sports Editor after being on the Ole Miss beat for over 11 years. He is a lifelong Oxford resident. Brown graduated from the University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
Prior to The Rebel Walk, Brown was the sports editor of HottyToddy.com covering every Ole Miss sport and local high school sports in the community.