AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Longhorns head basketball coach Chris Beard released a statement through his attorney Thursday after the University of Texas at Austin fired him following an investigation into his felony arrest.
Beard’s attorney Perry Minton said the former head coach “is crushed” and “devastated” by the firing.
“Chris Beard is crushed at the news he will not be coaching at the University of Texas. At the outset of Coach Beard’s suspension, The University promised they would conduct an independent investigation surrounding the allegations and make a decision regarding his employment only after they had done so. They proceeded to terminate Coach Beard without asking a single question of him or his fiancé. Since the arrest, there have only been positive developments clearly demonstrating his innocence. Additionally, it is my opinion shared by others that any potential charges against Coach Beard will be declined very soon. This is in addition to the statements made by his fiancé that emphatically state that the original reports were inaccurate. I am concerned that the University of Texas has made a terrible decision against the interest of the University, based on Twitter feeds and editorials – and not the facts concerning a truly innocent man. The University has violated their agreement with the coach and we are devastated.”
Beard was arrested on a third-degree felony domestic violence charge 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.
On Dec. 23, Beard’s fiancée said in a statement through her attorney that he didn’t strangle her and never wanted to press charges against him.
UT announced on Dec. 12 it had suspended Beard without pay after the arrest. Just over three weeks later, Texas announced Beard’s firing.
“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. We thank Coach Rodney Terry for his exemplary leadership both on and off the court at a time when our team needed it most. We are grateful he will remain the acting head coach for the remainder of the season. We are proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, who throughout this difficult time have continued to make us proud to be Longhorns,” Del Conte wrote in the release.
Beard’s case related to the third-degree felony remains pending in a pre-indictment stage, according to Travis County District Clerk records.
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.
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.