Texas men’s basketball coach Chris Beard was fired Thursday, less than a month after the school suspended him without pay following his arrest on a domestic violence charge.
Associate head coach Rodney Terry, who has been acting head coach since Beard’s suspension, will remain in charge for the rest of the season.
Longhorns athletic director Chris Del Conte released a statement Thursday afternoon announcing the decision.
“The University of Texas has parted ways with Chris Beard,” he said. “This has been a difficult situation that we have been working diligently with. Today I informed Mr. Beard of our decision to terminate him effective immediately.”
Jim Davis, the university’s vice president for legal affairs, wrote in a letter to Beard’s attorney Perry Minton that Beard “engaged in unacceptable behavior that renders him unfit to serve as head coach at our university.” Whether prosecutors continue with the case does not determine whether Beard engaged in school conduct, Davis wrote.
Beard was arrested on the morning of December 12 after her fiancé, Randy Trey, told authorities that he groped her from behind, bit her, and hit her when the two argued. Trey released a statement on December 23 in which he denied having shaved the police beard.
“Chris did not strangle me, and I told law enforcement that evening,” Trey said in his statement. “Chris has said that he was acting in self-defense, and I do not refute that. I do not believe that Chris was in any way intentionally trying to harm me.”
True’s statement did not explain why she made the emergency call or other details in the police report, such as bite marks and scratches on her face and telling officers she could not breathe for about five seconds.
The Travis County District Attorney’s office released a statement to ESPN’s Myron Medcalf on Thursday morning, hours before the beard was removed.
“The case is still under review and our prosecutors are evaluating all evidence, including recent statements and all evidence collected by law enforcement,” the statement said. “Our office takes all allegations of domestic violence seriously; in each case, we are committed to working through the unique challenges presented.”
Minton said in a statement that Beard was “crushed” by the news and claimed the university went ahead with the firing without asking Beard or True any questions.
Minton said, “I am concerned that the University of Texas has made a terrible decision against the interest of the university based on a Twitter feed and editorial – and not facts relating to a truly innocent person.” “The university has breached its agreement with the coach and we are devastated.”
Minton has said the coach is innocent and pointed to Trey’s statement in a letter sent to the university on Thursday that Minton pressured the school to shave.
“Coach Beard has done nothing to violate any provision of his contract with the University of Texas,” Minton wrote, adding that he hoped the charges would be dropped.
Minton’s letter also stated that Del Conte “has repeatedly told our team that he is certain that Chris Beard has done nothing wrong – and that he is innocent.” It also said that Texas officials asked Beard to resign or be fired.
The university said Del Conte favored a “pause” before suspending Beard to see what facts might emerge. Davis said this should not be taken as a determination of the coach’s conduct.
Davis wrote in the school’s termination letter, “Your letter this morning shows that Mr. Beard does not understand the significance of the behavior in which he is engaged, or the events to come that will affect his ability to effectively lead our program.” reduce capacity.
Davis wrote, “This lack of self-awareness is yet another failure of judgment that renders Mr. Beard unfit to serve as head coach at our university.”
Beard was the head coach at Texas through 2021 after spending five seasons at Big 12 rival Texas Tech. In his only full season in Austin, the Bearcats went 22–12 before losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Texas started 7–1 before Beard’s arrest. Terry led the Longhorns to five consecutive wins before a home loss to Kansas State on Tuesday.
Beard was in the second season of a fully guaranteed, seven-year contract. His contract includes a provision whereby he can be fired for conduct that includes being charged with a felony.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.