Texas fires Chris Beard amid domestic family violence charge

Texas men’s basketball coach Chris Beard was fired Thursday, less than a month after the school suspended him without pay following his arrest on a domestic violence charge.

Associate head coach Rodney Terry, who has been acting head coach since Beard’s suspension, will remain in charge for the remainder of the season.

Longhorns athletic director Chris Del Conte released a statement Thursday afternoon announcing the decision.

“The University of Texas has parted ways with Chris Beard,” he said. “This has been a difficult situation that we have been working on diligently. Today I informed Mr. Beard of our decision to terminate him effective immediately.”

The university’s vice president of legal affairs, Jim Davis, wrote in a letter to Beard’s attorney, Perry Minton, that Beard had engaged in “unacceptable conduct that renders him unfit to serve as head coach in our university”. Whether prosecutors proceed with the case will not determine whether Beard engaged in behavior inappropriate for the school, Davis wrote.

Beard was arrested on the morning of December 12 after his fiancee, Randi Trew, told officers he choked her from behind, bit her and hit her when the two started arguing. Trew released a statement on December 23 in which she denied telling police Beard choked her.

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“Chris did strangle me, and that evening I told law enforcement,” Trew said in her statement. “Chris stated that he was acting in self-defense, and I do not deny that. I do not believe that Chris was intentionally trying to harm me in any way.”

Trew’s statement did not address why she made the emergency call or other details in the police report, such as bite marks and scrapes on her face and telling officers she could not breathe for about five seconds.

The Travis County District Attorney’s office released a statement to ESPN’s Myron Medcalf Thursday morning, hours before Beard was fired.

“The matter remains under review, and our prosecutors are evaluating all evidence, including recent statements and all evidence collected by law enforcement,” the statement said. “Our office takes all allegations of domestic violence seriously; in each case, we are committed to working through the unique challenges presented.”

In a statement Minton said that Beard is “crushed” by the news and claimed that the university went ahead with the shooting without asking Beard or Trew.

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“I am concerned that the University of Texas made a terrible decision against the interest of the University, based on Twitter feeds and editorials – and not the facts concerning a truly innocent man,” Minton said. “The University has breached their agreement with the coach and we are devastated.”

Minton said the coach is innocent and pointed to Trew’s statement in a letter sent early Thursday to the university, in which Minton pressed the school to keep Beard.

“Coach Beard has done nothing to violate any provision of his contract with the University of Texas,” Minton wrote, adding that he expects the charges to be dropped.

Minton’s letter also said Del Conte “repeatedly reported to our team that he is certain Chris Beard has done nothing wrong — and is innocent.” He also said Texas officials told Beard to resign or be fired.

The university said Del Conte supported a “pause” of Beard’s suspension before firing him to see what facts might emerge. That should not be taken as a determination of the coach’s conduct, Davis said.

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“Your letter this morning reveals that Mr. Beard does not understand the significance of the conduct he knows he has engaged in, or the resulting events that impair his ability to effectively lead the program our,” Davis wrote in the school’s termination letter.

“This lack of self-awareness is yet another failure of judgment that makes Mr. Beard unfit to serve as a head coach at our university,” Davis wrote.

Beard had been the head coach at Texas since 2021 after spending five seasons at Big 12 rival Texas Tech. In his lone full season in Austin, Beard went 22-12 before losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Texas started 7-1 before Beard’s arrest. Terry guided the Longhorns to five straight wins before a home loss to Kansas State on Tuesday.

Beard was in the second season of a seven-year, fully guaranteed contract. His contract includes a provision under which he can be fired for conduct that includes being charged with a crime.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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