AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Longhorns men’s basketball team is set to take the court Sunday for the second time after the arrest and suspension of head coach Chris Beard, and there’s still uncertainty surrounding the program’s leadership.
Following Beard’s arrest for felony domestic violence on Monday, the university suspended him without pay “until further notice,” and then named associate head coach Rodney Terry the acting head coach for the Longhorns’ game that night against Rice.
Texas, ranked No. 7 in the country, beat the unranked Owls 87-81 in overtime to move to 8-1 on the season.
Who will be Texas’ acting head coach Sunday?
What UT officials didn’t do was name an interim head coach for the rest of the season while Beard remains suspended. The university’s statement before the game Monday said Terry was only the acting head coach for that game, and UT hasn’t made any other statements since.
It would be logical that Terry remains the head coach for the remainder of the season, but UT has yet to publicly name an interim head coach.
Texas is set to play at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Sunday against Stanford in the Pac-12 Coast-to-Coast Challenge, so presumably, the announcement could come as late as Sunday morning before the Longhorns’ noon tipoff against the Cardinal.
It could be a while for Beard’s case to be tried in court, Austin attorney Ben Gergen said. Gergen is not tied to the case but offered his insight about the general timeline the case could take in an interview with KXAN.
“It’ll take weeks for the state to get all the evidence,” Gergen said. “For APD to upload all the body cams, get the assault victim’s statements to get on the state’s side to give to the defense attorney.”
Gergen said the defense could file a motion for a speedy trial, “and that could give a date when you know the case will be heard, and that puts the state on the clock where they have to try the case or offer a dismissal.”
Beard posted bond Monday and was released with an emergency protective order, prohibiting him from being within 200 yards of the address where the alleged assault took place, the victim and from possessing firearms or ammunition. After the game Monday, Terry told reporters that Beard had not communicated with him or the team in any way at that time.
Beard signed a 7-year, $35 million contract to coach the Longhorns men’s basketball team last season after five years as Texas Tech’s head coach.
Texas basketball will enter the most important part of its regular season at the end of December, starting Big 12 conference play on New Year’s Eve at Oklahoma. The NCAA Tournament, college basketball’s tournament for the national championship, starts in March.
Why is the charge Beard faces a felony in Texas?
Before 2009, an assault by strangulation/suffocation – family violence charge was considered a misdemeanor. But then the legislature heightened it to a third-degree felony that year. The type of felony sets limits on the sentencing for a person found guilty. In the case of a third-degree felony, a conviction means at least 2 years and no more than 10 years in prison, and they can also be fined $10,000 or less, according to Texas Penal Code.
Not long after the legislature made that change, the Austin Police Department also started using a specific form when interviewing victims who had been intentionally choked or had their airway obstructed.
Around that time, there was also an increase in the number of domestic violence cases in Texas, partially because advocates were highlighting the issue. One in four women and one in seven men in the U.S. were victims “of severe physical violence by an intimate partner” in their lifetime, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which is based in Austin.
People who need help can call the Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE(7233), reach out online or test START to 88788.