Warning: The following describes details of domestic violence.
If there's one way to start off 2023, getting fired is not the best choice. That's what happened to Chris Beard, the Texas men's basketball coach who had been suspended without pay for almost a month following a domestic violence charge, was fired by the University.
In a statement by Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte, Del Conte states that "this has been a difficult situation that we've been working diligently through," but ultimately the decision was made to let Beard go.
Chris Beard Fired After Assault Arrest
On the morning December 12th, Beard was arrested with a third-degree domestic violence charge after an altercation with his fiancée. According to the fiancée's original report to officers and the arrest affidavit, the couple had been arguing about their relationship for a couple days. The fiancée approached Beard in a guest bedroom, and after Beard ignored her, she took his eyeglasses from him and broke them. That's when Beard choked her from behind, bit her, and hit her. She originally told officers she did not "feel safe."
However, on Dec 23rd, the fiancée seemed to backtrack, releasing a statement saying, "Chris did not strangle me, and I told that to officers that evening. Chris has stated that he was acting in self-defense and I do not refute that. I do not believe Chris was trying to intentional harm me in any way."
Her statement completely contradicts the initial police report, which details bite marks, abrasions on her face, and her telling officers she couldn't breathe for 5 seconds.
Beard has never spoken publicly of incident. Instead, Beard's attorney in the matter, Perry Minton, released a statement after the initial arrest, saying Beard was innocent. Minton maintained Beard's innocence in another statement Thursday after it was announced Beard would be fired. "I want to be on the record as empathically stating...that Coach Beard has not done anything to violate any provision of his contract with the University of Texas." Minton also states that the University of Texas did not do a thorough independent investigation, claiming that Beard nor his fiancée were contacted by the university.
In a rebuttal to Minton's statement, James Davis, vice president for UT legal affairs, stated that "Chris Beard engaged in unacceptable behavior that makes him unfit to serve as head coach at our university. Instead of immediately terminating Mr. Beard, the university exercised thoughtful restraint to allow time for additional material facts to emerge.
The University of Texas men's basketball team will finish the season with associate head coach Rodney Terry at the helm. Terry had taken over head coach duties since the beginning of Beard's suspension.
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