UT Coach Chris Beard Fired Following Domestic Violence Arrest

NCAA Basketball: Jimmy V Classic-Illinois at Texas
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Last month the University of Texas Longhorns men’s team was ranked as the No. 2 team in college basketball and much of that success was attributed to head coach Chris Beard, an alum of the school and widely considered one of the best coaches on the college scene.

On Thursday afternoon, UT athletic director Chris Del Conte announced Beard’s firing following a felony domestic violence charge that stemmed from an incident on Dec. 12.

“The University of Texas has parted ways with Chris Beard,” he said. “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.”

The university’s vice president of legal affairs, Jim Davis, wrote that Beard engaged in “unacceptable behavior that makes him unfit to serve as head coach at our university,” according to a letter sent to Beard’s attorney Perry Minton. Davis reportedly said that whether or not Beard is prosecuted, is a separate determination than the determination of whether Beard engaged in conduct “unbecoming” of the school.

Beard was arrested on December 12th after his fiancée, Randi Trew, called 911 following a domestic incident at their residence. Trew told officers that Beard allegedly choked her, bit her and hit her when the two got in an argument after she reportedly broke Beard’s glasses, according to police. Trew also allegedly claimed she could not breathe for several seconds, according to police.

Beard’s attorney immediately denied the allegations, claiming Beard acted in self-defense and said he had a recording to prove Beard was not the initial aggressor.

Beard was subsequently suspended by the school while it conducted its own investigation.

On Dec. 23, Trew walked back the allegations and issued a statement denying that Beard choked her.

“Chris did not strangle me, and I told that to law enforcement that evening,” Trew said. “Chris has stated that he was acting in self-defense, and I do not refute that. I do not believe Chris was trying to intentionally harm me in any way.”

The Travis County District Attorney’s office told ESPN that the matter is still under review as prosecutors evaluate the evidence.

Without Trew’s cooperation it will be difficult to prosecute Beard. The office still said it will consider whether or not to proceed.

“Our office takes all allegations of domestic violence seriously; in each case, we are committed to working through the unique challenges presented,” the District Attorney wrote.

Beard’s attorney hinted at the fact that Beard may try to sue the University for wrongful termination of his contract.

“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 violated their agreement with the coach and we are devastated.”

Minton also said Beard is “crushed” by the news.

Beard’s seven-year, guaranteed contract reportedly contains a clause that says he can be fired for certain types of conduct, including being charged with a felony. Beard was in his second year of the contract which could have netted him $35 million through 2028.

The school’s legal affairs vice president reportedly wrote the following back to Minton and Beard in a termination letter.

“Your letter this morning reveals that Mr. Beard does not understand the significance of the behavior he knows he engaged in, or the ensuing events that impair his ability to effectively lead our program,” Davis wrote.

“This lack of self-awareness is yet another failure of judgement that makes Mr. Beard unfit to serve as a head coach at our university,” Davis wrote.

Beard was hired to head coach at Texas in 2021 after five seasons at Big 12 rival Texas Tech. Associate head coach Rodney Terry, will coach the rest of the season.