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Texas Fires Chris Beard

Sports

Texas men's basketball head coach Chris Beard | Image by Michael C. Johnson/USA TODAY Sports

The University of Texas at Austin has fired men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard, athletic director Chris Del Conte announced on Thursday.

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

Beard is facing a third-degree felony family domestic violence charge stemming from an argument with his fiancee that allegedly turned physical on December 12 and was promptly suspended without pay by the university.

His fiancee has since retracted some of the allegations against him and claimed Beard acted in self-defense, adding that she never intended for him to be arrested.

Beard’s attorney, Perry Minton, who has maintained his client’s innocence throughout the process, questioned the university’s decision.

“I want to understand why the University has changed course on its earlier stated position when the only developments since then have clearly been positive for Coach Beard and the University,” he wrote in a letter.

“Moreover, I have been very grateful that Chris Del Conte has repeatedly reported to our team that he is certain that Chris Beard did nothing wrong – and is innocent. I just do not understand the change of heart with no explanation and on such short notice, particularly in light of the University alignment and support that he is innocent.”

Travis County Police told ESPN on Thursday, “The matter is still under review, and our prosecutors are evaluating all of the evidence, including recent statements and all evidence collected by law enforcement. Our office takes all allegations of domestic violence seriously; in each case, we are committed to working through the unique challenges presented.”

Beard left Texas Tech to accept a fully guaranteed, seven-year contract with his alma mater in 2021. He led Texas to a 22-12 record before losing in the second round of the NCAA tournament in his only full season in Austin.

A clause in Beard’s contract does allow “firing for cause” in extreme cases like being charged with a felony.

Del Conte confirmed that acting head coach Rodney Terry would continue to lead the Longhorns for the rest of this season.

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

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