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Texas fires head coach Chris Beard; Rodney Terry takes over

Dec 6, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Chris Beard reacts as he coaches against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Suspended Texas basketball coach Chris Beard was fired on Thursday, with assistant coach Rodney Terry continuing to fill the head coach position for the rest of the 2022-23 season.

Chris Del Conte, Texas’ vice president and athletic director, announced the decision 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. We thank Coach Rodney Terry for his exemplary leadership both on and off the court at a time when our team needed it most. We are grateful he will remain the acting head coach for the remainder of the season.

“We are proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, who throughout this difficult time have continued to make us proud to be Longhorns.”

Beard was suspended Dec. 12, the same day he was arrested in the early morning hours after police responded to his home to investigate an “emergency threat to life” domestic call.

The 49-year-old Beard was arrested and booked on felony domestic violence charges and police revealed the call came from Beard’s live-in fiancee.

Beard was suspended without pay and, per a clause in the $35 million deal he signed before last season, Beard’s firing “with cause” fully absolves Texas of financial obligation.

Per the police report, the woman told police that Beard “choked me, threw me off the bed, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around, and going nuts.”

In a statement issued 11 days later, she said that she told law enforcement that Beard had not strangled her.

“Chris and I are deeply saddened that we have brought negative attention upon our family, friends and the University of Texas, among others,” the statement said. “As Chris’ fiancee and biggest supporter, I apologize for the role I played in this unfortunate event. I realize that my frustration, when breaking his glasses, initiated a physical struggle between Chris and myself.

“Chris did not strangle me, and I told that to law enforcement that evening. 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. It was never my intent to have him arrested or prosecuted. We appreciate everyone’s support and prayers during this difficult time.”

Beard told police he had audio recordings of the incident that showed he wasn’t the “primary aggressor,” according to court documents. But when asked if he would share those recordings, he declined.

About 14 hours after Beard was booked in Austin last month, Texas beat Rice in overtime under Terry’s direction. Terry said he learned less than 90 minutes before tipoff that he would fill Beard’s role as head coach.

Exactly one week prior to their coach being jailed, Texas was ranked No. 2 in the Top 25.

Terry said his message to the team has been, “There’s going to be things like this the rest of your life. It’s how you deal with them, adapt and adjust. At the end of the day, we have a job to do.”

The Longhorns are 12-2 (1-1 Big 12) and next play Saturday at Oklahoma State.

–Field Level Media