AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas at Austin fired Chris Beard as its head men’s basketball coach, Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte announced Thursday.

“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,” Del Conte wrote in the release in-part.

“I think for the most part, you know, Texas handled it in the best way they could,” Westlake basketball head coach Robert Lucero said.

We asked Lucero to weigh in on how Beard’s firing might impact local recruitment. Westlake has seen its fair share of high-end recruits, including Brock Cunningham, who went to the UT Austin.

“We think back to some of the players that came through here, Brock, you know, UT is his school. He wanted to go there since he was little,” Lucero said. “So I think regardless of who the coach is, the brand at Texas is a little bit bigger than any one person.”

When it comes to players looking right now, Lucero said how the team handles the rest of the season matters.

“Coach [Rodney] Terry and his staff, they’re very experienced, and they know the Big 12 well and they know recruiting and they know Texas. And so I think they’ll do a good job for the rest of the season,” Lucero said.

How we got here

Beard was arrested around 4 a.m., Dec. 12 after Austin police were called to a home in the 1900 block of Vista Lane. Beard was charged with assault by strangulation/suffocation – family violence, a third-degree felony, after being accused of choking and hitting his fiancée.

Perry Minton, Beard’s attorney, released a statement on behalf of the former Longhorns head coach, writing Beard is “crushed” and “devastated” by the news.

“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’s case related to the third-degree felony remains pending in a pre-indictment stage, according to Travis County District Clerk records.