Texas Basketball Coach Chris Beard Suspended After Felony Domestic Assault Charge

Chris Beard was suspended as the head coach of the University of Texas men’s basketball team after he was arrested on a felony domestic violence charge in Austin, Texas, early Monday. The authorities said he had assaulted a member of his household by trying to stop the person’s breathing.

The Austin Police Department said officers responded to a call about a disturbance at a home in Austin at around 12:15 a.m. The caller said that the disturbance was over and that one of the people at the home had left, the police said in a statement. When the police arrived at the house, a woman told them that Beard had assaulted and choked her.

Beard, 49, was arrested and charged with assault on a member of a family or household by impeding breath circulation, a third-degree felony, according to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

The University of Texas said in a statement that Beard would be suspended without pay “until further notice.”

“The university takes matters of interpersonal violence involving members of its community seriously,” the university said, adding that Rodney Terry, the team’s associate head coach, would serve as an acting head coach for the Longhorns game in Austin on Monday night, against Rice University. (Texas won in overtime, 87-81.)

The school did not say whether it would open an investigation into Beard’s case, or whether Terry would continue as acting head coach after Monday’s night game.

Bond for Beard was set at $10,000. He appeared on Monday before a judge, who told Beard that an emergency protective order will be issued against him for two months. The order will prevent Beard from carrying a firearm or ammunition; appearing within 200 yards of the woman he was accused of assaulting; or appearing within 200 yards of the home where the reported disturbance took place. The order will also prevent Beard from speaking to the woman in a threatening manner.

Beard posted a cash bond and was released from the Travis County Jail on Monday afternoon, according to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office.

Perry Minton, a lawyer for Beard, said in a statement on Monday that the coach was “100 percent innocent of these charges.”

“He should have never been arrested,” Minton said. “The complainant wants him released immediately and all charges dismissed. It is truly inconceivable.”

Details about whom Beard had been accused of assaulting and that person’s condition were not immediately available on Monday. Beard has three daughters and is engaged, according to his official biography on the University of Texas at Austin’s Athletics website.

The N.C.A.A. declined to comment about Beard’s arrest on Monday.

Beard was named coach of the Texas Longhorns in April 2021 after five seasons as the head coach of the men’s basketball team at Texas Tech, which he led to the N.C.A.A. national championship game in 2019.

Before that, Beard served as the head coach of the men’s basketball teams at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock; Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas; McMurry University in Abilene, Texas; Seminole State College in Sanford, Fla.; and Fort Scott Community College in Fort Scott, Kan. Beard graduated from the University of Texas in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, the study of human motion.

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