Skyhawk Rifle | Bob Beard - Head Coach
The longest-tenured member of the UT Martin athletics department, Bob Beard served as head rifle coach at The University of Tennessee at Martin from 1982 until August 2014 before retiring. Beard once again took over head coaching duties prior to the 2016-17 season.
Under Beard's tutelage, the Skyhawks were a model of excellence and consistency. as UT Martin finished ranked in the Top 20 nationally at season's end in 31 of the last 32 years.
Beard, a four-time Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year (2000, 2007, 2011,2014), has produced four All-Americans, one national champion and an Olympian.
Beard is also credited as a trailblazer for the success of the Murray State University rifle program while he was a student at the school located just 50 miles north of Martin in Murray, Ky.
Beard's best team came in 1989 when his team finished fourth nationally in smallbore. While UT Martin competed in the Gulf South Conference, Beard led his teams to 87 straight match victories and nine GSC championships, including eight in a row. During that span, UT Martin compiled an amazing 92-6 conference mark.
In Beard's last seasons head coach, 2013-2014, UT Martin set numerous program highs and had two student-athletes qualify for the NCAA Rifle Championships for the first time since 2006. During that same event held at Murray State in Feburary, the mixed team fired a 4,626 aggregate score - the best round in school history. Also during the event, the team shot a program-record 2,347 in air rifle for another program-best.
In 2012-13, both the Skyhawk mixed team (13th) and the women's team (18th) were ranked in the CRCA Top-20 national polls on Oct. 8, the first time in program history that both squads were nationally ranked.
A native of Bardwell, Ky., Beard attended Murray State, where he was a member of the Racer rifle team from 1962 through 1966. Beard led MSU to a third-place finish nationally in 1966 and for his efforts, Beard was named an All-American.
In 1989, Beard was just the second Racer rifleman to be inducted into Murray State's Athletics Hall of Fame. After graduating from MSU, Beard began doctoral work at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Beard graduated with a doctorate in chemistry in 1970.
Beard was a member of the United States National Guard shooting team for 12 years. During his tenure with the National Guard, Beard won the Coast Guard Trophy at the national championships and medaled in events held in Australia and England.
Beard is certified as an Advanced International Coach by the Olympics National Governing Body and has been named Coach of the Year in two different athletic conferences. Beard is also a member of the "President's 100", honoring the best marksmen in the nation, and a member of the "Queen's 50", honoring the fifty best marksmen in England.
Beard and his wife, Mary, have two children - Gail and Allen - and three grandchildren - Paige, Magen and Reid.