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Chris Beard Fired as Texas MCBB Head Coach After December Arrest on Felony Charge

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 5, 2023

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 18: Head coach Chris Beard of the Texas Longhorns looks on from the sidelines in the first half of the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Fiserv Forum on March 18, 2022 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Texas fired men's basketball coach Chris Beard on Thursday and announced Rodney Terry will finish out the 2022-23 season as acting head coach.

Tyler Feldman @TylerFeldmanTV

<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BREAKING?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BREAKING</a> Chris Beard has been fired as head coach of the Texas men's basketball team. <a href="https://t.co/9BLNJw4JcN">pic.twitter.com/9BLNJw4JcN</a>

Kirk Bohls of the Austin American-Statesman added the Longhorns fired Beard for cause. Texas suspended the 49-year-old in mid-December following his arrest on a third-degree felony charge of assault by strangulation, family violence.

The American-Stateman's Danny Davis shared the university's termination letter:

Danny Davis @_dannydavis

The University of Texas announces that it has fired men's basketball coach Chris Beard. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HookEm?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HookEm</a> <a href="https://t.co/b3Od6kxfIU">pic.twitter.com/b3Od6kxfIU</a>

Perry Minton, Beard's lawyer, disputed the notion the circumstances behind the firing provided the university with cause:

Kirk Bohls @kbohls

Chris Beard's lawyer, Perry Minton, wrote to UT, "I want to be on record as emphatically stating, and herein memorializing, that Coach Beard has not done anything to violate any provision of his contract with the University of Texas."

Tyler Feldman @TylerFeldmanTV

This part of Perry Minton's letter to UT is significant.<br><br>Chris Beard's lawyer states UT "changed course on its earlier stated position" and "Chris Del Conte has repeatedly reported to our team that he is certain Chris Beard did nothing wrong and is innocent." <a href="https://t.co/divWwXYgDq">pic.twitter.com/divWwXYgDq</a>

Austin police said officers responded to a disturbance call on Dec. 12. The altercation was over when authorities arrived and they "located a woman who stated she had been assaulted and strangled by Christopher Michael Beard."

Per the arrest affidavit (via the American-Statesman), an officer at the scene was told Beard and his fiancée, Randi Trew, "had been upset with each other for several days over relationship issues."

During an argument, Trew said Beard "just snapped on me and became super violent" after she accidentally broke his reading glasses. She also told police at one point he "choked me, threw me off the bed, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around, and going nuts."

In the affidavit, police said they saw injuries to Trew, including a "bite mark to the right forearm, abrasion to the right eyebrow, abrasion to the left leg from the knee to the foot, and a cut to the left thumb with dried blood." Police said Trew also made a statement that she had suffered these injuries.

Trew issued a statement on Dec. 23 recanting what she had told police. She said Beard didn't strangle her, adding she didn't refute his assertion he was acting in self-defense when the alleged assault occurred.

Ryan Autullo @AutulloAAS

BREAKING: Chris Beard's fiancée gives first statement since the University of Texas basketball coach's arrest for family violence on Dec. 12.<br><br>She says Beard did not strangle her and she does not refute Beard's statement that he acted in self defense.<br><br>Story to come <a href="https://twitter.com/statesman?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@statesman</a>. <a href="https://t.co/K23tjojUQ5">pic.twitter.com/K23tjojUQ5</a>

Following Trew's statement, Texas said the investigation remained ongoing.

The district attorney's office in Travis County also confirmed Wednesday that prosecutors were still looking at all of the evidence in the case.

Texas hired Beard in April 2021, giving him a seven-year, $35 million contract. His $5.3 million salary was the sixth-highest in Division I last season.

The Longhorns went 22-12 in 2021-22 and reached the second round of the 2022 NCAA tournament. They've gotten off to a 12-2 start in 2022-23 and sit sixth in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.