University of Texas announced Thursday they have fired basketball coach Chris Beard, nearly a month after he was arrested on a third-degree felony assault charge for allegedly strangling and assaulting his fiancée in their home. Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement: “The University of Texas has parted ways with Chris Beard. 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.” Beard was fired for cause, and as such he will not be entitled to any salary or buyout money from the seven-year, $35 million contract he signed with the Longhorns ahead of the 2021-22 season (which was set to run through 2028). Texas had initially suspended Beard indefinitely without pay on Dec. 12 after the arrest, and has not been allowed around the team since that date. At the time, UT said in a Dec. 12 statement: “The University takes matters of interpersonal violence involving members of its community seriously.”
Beard’s fiancée Randi Trew told police the night of the incident that Beard “choked me, threw me off the bed, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around, and going nuts”. However on Dec. 23, Trew recanted her original statement. Trew claimed to be the initiator of the struggle, saying Beard did not strangle her the night she called 911 in the early hours of Dec. 12 and that she did not tell police otherwise, despite what is contained in the arrest report. Trew did not refute that Beard acted in self-defense that evening. In recanting her statement, Trew said, “It was never my intent to have him arrested or prosecuted.”
As of Thursday, the felony charge against Beard has not been dropped by the local District Attorney’s Office in Austin, Texas. Beard’s next court date is scheduled for Jan. 18.
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