Chris Beard: From landing Texas job to arrest, suspension and being fired
Few coaches have been as successful in recent years as Chris Beard.
After leading Little Rock, a 12-seed, to a first-round upset over Purdue, a 5-seed, in the 2016 NCAA tournament, he became one of the most coveted coaches in the country. He left a few months later for Texas Tech, where he spent five seasons and led the team to the national title game in 2019. His ascent continued in 2021, when Texas — his alma mater and “dream school” — hired him to be its head coach.
The Longhorns had picked Beard in hopes that he could lead the program to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008. In his first season as a coach, Beard led the Longhorns to the second round at the NCAA tournament. He also landed some of top transfers and recruits in the country.
Beard’s career was halted last month when he was arrested for a felony family abuse charge , which led Texas to suspend Beard without pay . Rodney Terry, his assistant, was the acting head coach. Terry is a former head coach at Fresno State and UTEP.
Thursday, Texas announced that it had fired Beard, ending his run in Austin as the allegations against him remain under investigation, per the Travis County district attorney’s office. Here’s a look at some key moments in Beard’s Texas career, from his appointment as Texas head coach to Thursday’s announcement of his resignation.
April 1, 2021: Chris Beard is named Texas head coach
Beard, who was Texas Tech head coach since 2016, takes a reported $4 million buyout to switch Big 12 schools and replaces Shaka Smart at his alma mater.
Beard led the Red Raiders to a national title game appearance in 2019 and the Elite Eight in 2018 and left there with an overall record of 112-55.
Mar. 18, 2022: Texas defeats Virginia Tech in the first round of the 2022 NCAA men’s tournament
The 81-73 victory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, marks the Longhorns’ first win in the postseason tournament since 2014.
Nov. 28, 2022: Texas rises to No. 2 in the AP poll, the program’s highest ranking since 2009-10
Texas open the 2022-23 season ranked at No. 12 in the preseason. After six straight wins, including a 93-74 win over No. 2 Gonzaga on Nov. 16; they vault to No. 4, and No. 2 the week after.
Dec. 12, 2022: Chris Beard arrested
The Texas coach is arrested by police in Austin, Texas, and booked at 4: 18 a.m. CDT on a third-degree charge of “assault of a family/household member, impede breath circulation,” or strangulation. The charge is a third-degree felony in Texas, with a possible punishment of two to 10 years in prison.
Austin officers tell ESPN that they received a “disturbance Hotshot” call shortly after midnight Monday. Beard is released from the Travis County jail at 2: 44 p.m. CDT after posting a cash bond.
Beard is permitted to communicate with the alleged victim in a non-threatening manner, must stay 200 yards away from the residence where police were called and was told he cannot possess a firearm. Texas issues a statement stating that the University is aware of Chris Beard’s situation. We are continuing to gather information and monitoring the legal process.”
Dec. 12, 2022: Texas suspends Beard indefinitely without pay
Associate head coach Rodney Terry, who was a head coach at UTEP (2018-21) and Fresno State (2011-18), is named acting head coach. The school does not provide timeline for Beard’s suspension . The school states that it does not have a timeline for Beard’s suspension.
Dec. 12, 2022: Texas plays first game without Beard
Dec. 23, 2022: Fiancee disputes incident
Randi Trew, the woman who called police to report the assault, releases a statement through her lawyer saying she is “deeply saddened” by the incident, and that Beard was acting in self-defense from her.
“Chris, and I are deeply sorry that we have brought down our family, friends and the University of Texas among others. As Chris’ fiancee, and his biggest supporter, I am sorry for my part in this unfortunate event. Trew states in the statement that I am aware of my frustration at Chris’ breaking of his glasses. This led to a physical struggle between Chris, Trew and myself.
“Chris didn’t strangle me. I told law enforcement that evening. Chris claimed he was acting in self defense, and I don’t refute that. Chris did not intend to harm me in any way. It was not my intention to have him arrested and prosecuted. She says that she appreciates everyone’s support and prayers during this difficult period.
The university released a statement saying that they are currently reviewing Randi Trew’s statement. This matter is the subject of an internal investigation and the university does not comment on pending investigations.”
Dec. 27, 2022: Austin police provide “no comment” update
Three days after Randi Trew released a statement denying Beard had strangled her, while also saying the Austin police had failed to record her account of what unfolded that night, officials say they will not respond. “The department respects the investigation and court process and will not make any further comments at this time.”
Jan. 4, 2023: District Attorney’s office shares statement
The Travis County District Attorney’s office provides an update on the ongoing investigation, saying, “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.”
Jan. 5, 2023: Texas fires Beard
“The University of Texas has parted ways with Chris Beard,” Longhorns athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement released Thursday afternoon announcing the decision. This has been a difficult situation and we’ve been diligently trying to resolve it. Today I informed Mr. Today, I informed Mr. Beard that we had decided to immediately terminate him. “
The university’s vice-president of legal affairs, Jim Davis wrote to Beard’s lawyer, Perry Minton, stating that Beard had engaged in “unacceptable behaviour that renders him unfit to serve at our university as head coach.” Davis wrote that it doesn’t matter if the case is continued by prosecutors.
Minton stated in a statement that Beard was “crushed” by the news, and claimed that the university proceeded with the firing without asking Beard nor Trew any questions.
Chris Beard’s attorney, Perry Minton, asked James E. Davis, UT VP of legal affairs, “What has Coach Beard done to be terminated? “
Davis said that Beard had displayed “unacceptable behaviour that makes him unfit for the position of head coach.” pic.twitter.com/26dCwqRzCm
— Myron Medcalf (@MedcalfByESPN) January 5, 2023
“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,” Minton said. “The University has broken their agreement with the coach, and we are devastated.” “
Minton wrote a Thursday morning letter urging the university to keep Beard at the job. The school replied by saying that the letter showed a lack of self-awareness. “
” Your letter this morning revealed that Mr. Davis wrote that Beard doesn’t understand the significance of the behavior he knew he committed, or the resulting events that have affected his ability to lead our program effectively.
Beard was left with five years on a seven year guaranteed contract. This contract includes a provision that he could be fired if he is charged with a crime.
Assistant Coach Rodney Terry assumed Beard’s place last month and will serve as the acting head coach for this season, according the school.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.