Chris Beard agrees to five-year deal to become UNLV head coach

UNLV has hired Arkansas-Little Rock's Chris Beard as its next head coach, both schools announced Monday.

Sources told ESPN that Beard has agreed to a five-year deal.

Beard, 43, leaves Little Rock after guiding the Trojans to a 30-5 record and a Sun Belt title this season, his first at the school. UALR beat No. 5 seed Purdue in the first round of the NCAA tournament before falling to Iowa State. The 30 wins were school and Sun Belt records.

"Chris is a high-character coach and proven winner with a clear vision for building a successful program on the court and in the classroom at UNLV," UNLV president Len Jessup said. "He is one of the rising head coaches in the sport, and we're confident he's the right person to lead our program and continue the proud, winning tradition of Runnin' Rebel basketball."

Beard replaces interim head coach Todd Simon, who took over when Dave Rice was let go in early January. Rice had led the Runnin' Rebels for four and a half seasons, reaching the NCAA tournament during his first two seasons but failing to reach the postseason in his final two. UNLV was 9-7 when Rice left the program.

Before taking over at Little Rock, Beard was the head coach at Division II schools Angelo State and McMurry. He also coached the South Carolina Warriors, an ABA franchise.

Beard was an assistant coach under Bob Knight and Pat Knight at Texas Tech from 2001 to 2011 and was part of the staffs at Texas and North Texas.

"We are appreciative of Coach Beard and his team's incredible list of accomplishments this season," Little Rock director of athletics Chasse Conque said in a statement. "While Chris spent just one season in Little Rock, our program is better for his service to the University. We wish Coach Beard nothing but the best at Nevada-Las Vegas."

UNLV also interviewed New Mexico State's Marvin Menzies over the weekend after a public pursuit of Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin. Cronin went to Las Vegas to discuss the position but returned to Cincinnati without a deal in place. He announced Friday that he was remaining with the Bearcats.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.