AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Thursday, the University of Texas provided KXAN with the notice of termination and correspondence between the attorney for fired UT head basketball coach Chris Beard and the university.
UT Athletics Director Chris Del Conte announced Thursday that Beard has been fired effective immediately. The termination letter from UT claims Beard was fired “for cause” after the coach was arrested on accusations of domestic violence in December.
Beard was arrested on Dec. 12 after Austin police were called to a home around 4 a.m. Beard was accused of biting and choking his fiancée, according to an APD arrest affidavit.
UT announced on Dec. 12 it had suspended Beard without pay after the arrest. Just over three weeks later, Texas announced Beard’s firing.
Correspondence between UT and Beard’s attorney
Beard engaged in unacceptable behavior that made him unfit to serve as head coach at the university, according to documentation from the UT Office of the Vice President of Legal Affairs, which was sent to Beard’s attorney.
“Being a head coach at The University of Texas at Austin is about more than winning
games,” the document said. “The privilege of coaching comes with a great responsibility that goes beyond just avoiding improper conduct.”
According to Beard’s attorney, the update from the university came as a shock and said Beard was innocent of any crime and had not done anything as a head coach that reflected poorly on the university or resulted in felony criminal charges.
“He was arrested, then his fiancé retracted her previously reported statement, and I expect that the Travis County District Attorney is very shortly going to decline any and all charges
in the matter,” Beard’s attorney said.
The Travis County District Attorney’s Office released a statement on the case 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,” the statement reads.
In his letter to UT, Beard’s attorney wrote the former head coach “is innocent of any crime and has not done anything that “(a) is unbecoming a head coach and reflects poorly on the University or (b) resulted in felony criminal charges.”
In a Dec. 23 statement, the fiancée of Beard, Randi Trew, said he didn’t strangle her and never wanted to press charges against him.
Trew said Beard was acting in self-defense and she “doesn’t believe Chris was trying to intentionally harm me in any way.”
“Erroneous reporting and biased editorials cannot be boot-strapped into a contract violation of an innocent party,” the attorney said.
However, the university said it exercised thoughtful restraint to allow time for additional material facts to emerge in the case, the university said.
While the university acknowledged Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte supported Beard and the program during the pause before action presuming him innocent, the support was not a determination regarding Beard’s conduct.
“It is a mistake to view a manager’s support for an employee as a statement of belief in criminal guilt or innocence,” the university said.
More specifically, the university said there seemed to be an incorrect underlying assumption that the criminal process outcome dictated Beard’s employment outcome.
“It is his actual behavior that we consider, not whether some acts also constitute a crime,” the university said.
Furthermore, Beard did not understand the significance of the behavior he knew he engaged in, the university said.
“This lack of self-awareness is yet another failure of judgment that makes [Beard] unfit to serve as head coach at our university,” the UT document said.
What’s next for Texas basketball
Beard’s less than two-year tenure at Texas ends after 42 games. Texas associate head coach Rodney Terry has been named the acting head coach for the remainder of the 2022-23 season.
Terry has filled in as head coach since Dec. 12. Texas is 5-1 in those games under Terry.