Christopher Michael Beard. (APD photo)
Christopher Michael Beard. (APD photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — University of Texas men’s basketball coach Chris Beard has been suspended from his position without pay after he was arrested early Monday morning.

Associate head coach Rodney Terry will be the acting head coach for Texas’ game against Rice Monday.

“The University takes matters of interpersonal violence involving members of its community seriously. Given the information available, The University has suspended Chris Beard from his position as head coach of Men’s Basketball and will withhold his pay until further notice,” according to a University of Texas statement.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Monday, Beard walked out of the Travis County Jail. Beard was arrested on an assault by strangulation/suffocation – family violence, according to the Austin Police Department. That’s a third-degree felony.

Online jail records showed the 49-year-old coach was booked into the Travis County Jail at 4:18 a.m. KXAN reached out to his attorneys for a statement and will update this story when we receive a response.

APD said it was called to the 1900 block of Vista Lane at 12:15 a.m., Monday for a disturbance in connection with Beard’s arrest. That’s in the Tarrytown neighborhood. According to an APD press release, when officers responded to the address they found a woman who said Beard choked her. APD wants anyone with more information about what happened to call them at 512-974-TIPS.

Austin-Travis County EMS was called to that address. A person refused treatment, ATCEMS said.

KXAN reached out to University of Texas Athletics for a statement Monday morning. It responded with the following: “The University is aware of the situation regarding Chris Beard. We are continuing to gather information and monitoring the legal process.”

Beard posted a $10,000 bond and was released Monday afternoon. During an initial court hearing with a magistrate, an emergency protective order was issued for two months. He has to stay 200 yards away from the home where the alleged assault took place, he has to stay at least 200 yards away from the victim at all times while the case is in court and he can’t possess a firearm or ammunition.

“I was pretty shocked at first,” said UT freshman Nico Oliveira about the arrest.

The Longhorns defeated Rice in overtime Monday at Moody Center.

Several fans who went to the game said they came to support the players, regardless of what happens with Beard’s investigation.

Chris Beard’s coaching history

Beard was hired as the Longhorns head coach in April 2021 following the team’s earlier-than-expected exit from the NCAA tournament. Under previous coach Shaka Smart, the Longhorns won the Big 12 Conference tournament and had won five consecutive games going into the national tournament, earning a No. 3 seed in the East Regional. However, in one of the biggest upsets of the first round, 14th-seeded Abilene Christian beat the Longhorns 53-52. Smart left UT to coach at Marquette shortly after the loss and Beard was hired to replace him.

This season, the Longhorns were ranked as high as No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. Following the team’s first loss of the season Dec. 6 to Illinois at Madison Square Garden, the Longhorns dropped five spots to No. 7 in the latest poll released Monday.

Texas is Beard’s alma mater. He was a former UT student assistant under then-basketball coach Tom Penders. He came back to Austin after five impressive seasons leading the Red Raiders. He also worked at McMurry University in Abilene from 2012-2013 and at Angelo State University in San Angelo from 2013-2015.

Beard was a Texas Tech assistant from 2001 to 2011, coaching under Bob Knight and Knight’s son, Pat.

He graduated from UT in 1995.