Texas fires Chris Beard amid domestic family violence charge

Texas State men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard was fired Thursday after being suspended without pay for less than a month following his arrest on charges of domestic violence.

Assistant coach Rodney Terry, who has served as acting head coach since Beard’s suspension, will coach for the rest of the season.

Longhorns athletic director Chris Del Conte announced the decision in a statement Thursday afternoon.

“The University of Texas has parted ways with Chris Baird. “This was a difficult situation that we worked through diligently. Today I informed Mr. Sahal of my decision to terminate his employment with immediate effect.”

The university’s vice president for legal affairs, Jim Davis, wrote in a letter to Beard’s attorney, Perry Minton, that Beard “conducted conduct unbecoming a head coach at our university.” Whether prosecutors proceed with the case will not determine whether Beard acted unethically at the school, Davis wrote.

Beard was arrested on the morning of Dec. 12 after his fiancee, Randy Trew, told police he tied up, bit and punched her from behind during an argument. Trew released a statement on Dec. 23 denying that he told police Sahl choked him.

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“Chris did not choke me, I told law enforcement that evening,” Trew said in a statement. “Chris claimed he was acting in self-defense, and I don’t deny that. I don’t believe Chris was trying to harm me in any way.”

Trew’s statement did not say why he called 911 or other details in the police report, including bite marks and abrasions on his face and telling officers he couldn’t breathe for five seconds.

The Travis County District Attorney’s Office released a statement Thursday morning to ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, just hours before Sahal was fired.

“This matter remains under review and our prosecutors are evaluating 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 strive to meet the unique challenges presented.”

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Minton said in a statement that Beard was “overwhelmed” by the news and that the university had started without asking Beard or Trew any questions.

“I am concerned that the University of Texas made a terrible decision against the best interests of the University based on Twitter posts and editorials, not facts about a truly innocent person,” Minton said. “The university broke the contract with the coach and we were devastated.”

Minton said the coach was innocent and highlighted Trew’s claims in a letter to the university earlier Thursday that Minton had pressed the school to keep the beard.

“Coach Beard has done nothing to violate the terms of his contract with the University of Texas,” Minton wrote, adding that he hopes the charges will be dismissed.

Minton’s letter also said Del Conte had “repeatedly informed our team that he was confident that Chris Beard had done nothing wrong and was innocent.” Texas officials also said they demanded Beard resign or be fired.

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The university said Del Conte supported Beard’s suspension before firing him to see what facts might emerge. That shouldn’t be seen as defining the coach’s behavior, Davis said.

“Your letter this morning shows that Mr. Sahl does not understand the importance of the behavior he knows,” Davis wrote in his graduation letter.

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

Beard has been Texas’ head coach since 2021 after five seasons at Big 12 rival Texas Tech. In his lone full season in Austin, Beard went 22-12 and lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Texas was 7-1 before Beard’s arrest. Terry had won five straight against the Longhorns before Tuesday’s loss at Kansas State.

Beard signed a fully guaranteed, seven-year deal in his second season. His contract included a felony termination clause.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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