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Texas Longhorns Fire Basketball Coach After Domestic Assault Charge

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Chris Beard was fired on Thursday as the pinnacle coach of the University of Texas men’s basketball team, weeks after he was arrested on a felony domestic violence charge in Austin.

Chris Del Conte, the university’s vice chairman and athletic director, said in a statement on Thursday that the university had decided to terminate Beard’s contract effective immediately.

Beard, 49, was suspended without pay on Dec. 12 after he was arrested and charged with assault on a member of a family or household by impeding breath circulation, a third-degree felony, in accordance with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. Beard posted a money bond of $10,000 and was released from jail the day of his arrest.

Rodney Terry, the team’s associate head coach, has been serving as acting head coach of the Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team since Beard was suspended. Del Conte said that Terry would finish the season because the team’s acting head coach.

“This has been a difficult situation that we’ve been diligently working through,” Del Conte said.

The Austin Police Department said officers responded to a call a couple of disturbance at a house in Austin at around 12:15 a.m. on Dec. 12. The caller told the police that the disturbance had ended and that one person at the house had left, the police said in a statement. When the police arrived at the home, a lady told them that Beard had assaulted and choked her.

Perry Minton, a lawyer for Beard, said in a press release on Thursday that Beard was “crushed on the news he is not going to be coaching on the University of Texas.”

“On the outset of Coach Beard’s suspension, the university promised they’d conduct an independent investigation surrounding the allegations and make a call regarding his employment only after that they had done so,” Minton said. “They proceeded to terminate Coach Beard without asking a single query of him or his fiancée.”

The university declined to comment on its investigation.

Just a few days after Beard was arrested, Randi Trew, Beard’s fiancée, said in a press release that her lawyer shared with The Associated Press that the 2 had engaged in a “physical struggle” after she broke his glasses in “frustration.” Beard, she added, “didn’t strangle me.”

“Chris has stated that he was acting in self-defense, and I don’t refute that,” she said. “I don’t imagine Chris was attempting to intentionally harm me in any way. It was never my intent to have him arrested or prosecuted.” A university spokesman confirmed that Beard had been offered the chance to resign or have his contracted terminated by the university. Minton, Beard’s lawyer, told James Davis, the university’s vice chairman of legal affairs, in a letter on Thursday that the offer “got here as a shock.”

“With this, I need 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,” Minton said within the letter. “He was arrested, then his fiancée retracted her previously reported statement.”

The Texas Longhorns named Beard head coach in April 2021 after he spent five seasons as the pinnacle coach of the lads’s basketball team at Texas Tech University, which he led to the N.C.A.A. national championship game in 2019.

Before coaching the Longhorns, Beard was the pinnacle coach of the lads’s basketball teams on the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas; McMurry University in Abilene, Texas; Seminole State College in Seminole, Okla.; and Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kan. Beard graduated from the University of Texas in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, the study of human motion.

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