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From Player to Coach: The Journey of UT Men's Basketball Interim Head Coach Rodney Terry

Ryan Swantkowski
Ryan Swantkowski

Photo credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

Texas Longhorns Head Basketball Coach Chris Beard was arrested Monday morning on felony assault charges after an incident at his home in Tarrytown. It is believed that Beard assaulted his fiancé and is now suspended by the university without pay until further notice. 

While things continue to be sorted out, Rodney Terry (Associate Head Coach) has been tabbed to fill the role of Head Coach. Let’s take a look at Terry and his basketball journey and career up to this point. 

Terry was born in Angleton, Texas and attended St. Edward’s University in Austin to play basketball. After graduating in 1990, Terry joined the coaching staff at St. Edward’s as an assistant coach for the 1990-1991 season. After bouncing around different high schools including James Bowie and Somerville, he returned to his old high school of Angleton High and was the head coach there for the 1995-96 season. 

Next came bigger collegiate opportunities. In 1996, Terry became an assistant at Baylor under coach Harry Miller (Baylor HC from 1994-1999). After 2 seasons in Waco, he left to become an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW). The Seahawks went on to make the NCAA Tournament in 2 of his 4 seasons at UNCW (2000 and 2002) and beat #4 seed USC in 2002 to give the program their first tournament win ever. 

Terry then moved back to Texas to join Rick Barnes and the Longhorns in the spring of 2002 as an assistant coach. He played an important role in the recruiting process and helped bring in players such as Kevin Durant, who's currently playing for the Brooklyn Nets, and Tristan Thompson, who is currently an NBA free agent. Next he became the head coach at Fresno State in 2011 and led the Bulldogs to an NCAA Tournament appearance in the 2015-16 season. They ended up losing in the first round to #3 Utah 80 to 69.

In 2018, Terry packed his bags and became the head coach at the University of Texas at El Paso. After 3 shaky seasons, he left in April of 2022 to return to Texas and become an assistant coach under Chris Beard. 

Terry’s best record as a head coach came in the 2015-16 season with the Bulldogs as they went 25-10, finished 2nd in the Mountain West and participated in “March Madness.”  Record wise, Terry seems to be somewhat inconsistent as he has been a head coach of a team for 10 total seasons and only has a winning record in 5 of those 10. 

Terry started off his interim head coach role with the Longhorns by notching a tough-fought OT victory over Rice on Monday night as the Longhorns defeated the Owls 87 to 81.  While the situation regarding Chris Beard plays out, all eyes are on coach Terry.  Can he continue the same success the Horns displayed to start the season?  Big 12 play starts soon and we will find out.

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