|Born||August 30, 1951|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1973–1977||Central State (assistant)|
|1978–1983||North Carolina A&T (assistant)|
|1984–1990||Prairie View A&M (assistant)|
|1991–1994||Prairie View A&M|
|Head coaching record|
Ronald Beard (born August 30, 1951) is a former American football coach. He was the 17th head football coach for the Prairie View A&M University Panthers located in Prairie View, Texas. He held the position for four seasons, from 1991 until 1994. His career coaching record at Prairie View was 0–44, giving him the worst record for a full-time head coach in college football history.
Beard attended Eastern Michigan University and graduated in 1973. Following graduation, he took a job at Central State University and served as assistant coach and defensive coordinator of the school's football team until 1977. Leaving Central State, he moved to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, working as assistant head coach and defensive coordinator until 1983. He moved to Prairie View in 1984 and began work as an assistant coach. He received a master's degree in physical education from Prairie View in 1986. In spring 1990, Prairie View suspended all athletic programs except track and field after it was discovered the athletic department was $3 million in debt, in part due to expense-report fraud by Beard's then-boss, Haney Catchings. Due to support from faculty, staff, and students at the school, however, the program was revived. Beard was named the head coach of the school's resurrected football team after Prairie View's first choice, Luther Booker, accepted the job, but resigned in February 1991 before playing a single game.
Beard has the dubious distinction of being the only full-time head football coach at any major college to coach for four years without a single win. However, he worked under enormous handicaps that many believe made it very difficult, if not impossible, to field a competitive team. Prairie View was the only school in the Southwestern Athletic Conference to not award football scholarships, largely because a request for donations from alumni only got 150 responses out of 30,000 letters sent.
The Panthers' practice uniforms were hand-me-downs from the Houston Oilers. Their game uniforms were either only washed in water or never washed at all, depending on the source. Many of the players had come to Prairie View after flunking physicals at other schools. Team morale was so low that at one point late in Beard's tenure, only six players on the 70-man squad usually showed up for practice. As well, Beard and his assistants had other, non-football duties; Beard taught 28 hours a week and also coached the golf team. Beard later said that under the circumstances, he was effectively coaching an intramural or club team at the Division I-AA level.
According to the College Football Data Warehouse, his 0–44 lifetime record is the worst in college football history. His teams were outscored by 1,989 to 280 during his four years of coaching. The worst loss was 92–0 to Alabama State in 1991 and the closest game was a 12–8 home loss against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in 1993. His 1991 team only scored 48 points during the entire season.
His 44 consecutive losses comprised more than half of Prairie View's 80-game losing streak from 1989 to 1998, the longest in NCAA history. Beard was fired from his position as head coach in July 1995, just prior to the start of the 1995 season.
Head coaching record
|Prairie View A&M (Southwestern Athletic Conference) (1991–1994)|
|1991||Prairie View A&M||0–11||0–7||8th|
|1992||Prairie View A&M||0–11||0–7||8th|
|1993||Prairie View A&M||0–11||0–7||8th|
|1994||Prairie View A&M||0–11||0–7||8th|
|Prairie View A&M:||0–44||0–28|
- Prairie View A&M University coaching records
- "Prairie View Agricultural & Mechanical University Directory". The Sports Network.
- Farmer, Neal. "Prairie View names Beard football coach", The Houston Chronicle. February 13, 1991. Sports Page 7.
- Dean, Richard. "Prairie View football heart beating again", The Houston Chronicle. July 19, 1991. Sports Page 5.
- John Ed Bradley (August 28, 1995). "Once Upon A Time...". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on July 9, 2009. Retrieved 2008-09-20.
- Gregorian, Vahe. "Prairie View wallows in football poverty", St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 16, 1994. Page C3.
- College Football data Warehouse All-Time Coaching Records
- Ronald Beard All-Time Records by Year
- Prairie View 1991 Football Scores
- Prairie View 1993 Football Scores
- "Memorable Losing Streaks, Prairie View A&M". Sports Illustrated.
- Duarte, Joseph. "PV ousts Beard, Jacket; School reassigns football coach, AD", The Houston Chronicle. July 14, 1995. Sports page 1.