Texas men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard was issued a protective order and is facing felony assault charges after a woman said he strangled her early Monday morning, Austin police said.
Beard, 49, is accused of assaulting a family member at a home in the 1900 block of Vista Lane, according to police. He faces a third-degree felony charge of assault on a family/household member — impede breath circulation. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Officers responded about 12:15 am Monday to a 911 call about a disturbance that was no longer ongoing at a home in the Tarrytown neighborhood of West Austin, police said. The caller reported that one of the individuals involved had left the house, where officers located a woman who said Beard assaulted and strangled her, police said.
Beard was booked into Travis County Jail at 4:18 am, according to the sheriff’s office. He made his first appearance in court Monday and was released after posting a $10,000 bond.
A judge also issued protective orders in the case. Beard is not allowed to be within 200 yards of the woman he is accused of assaulting while the case is pending, and under an emergency order set to expire Feb. 10, he is not allowed to be within 200 yards of his home, possess a firearm, or communicate in a threatening way with the woman.
After leaving the jail, Beard did not respond to questions from reporters. His attorney, Perry Minton, had told Austin television station KEYE-TV on Monday morning that Beard is “100 percent innocent of these charges.”
“He should have never been arrested,” Minton said in a prepared statement. “The complainant wants him released immediately and all charges dismissed. It is truly inconceivable.”
A University of Texas spokesperson released a statement Monday that did not offer any information about Beard’s status with the team.
“The University is aware of the situation regarding Chris Beard. We are continuing to gather information and monitor the legal process.”
After five seasons at Texas Tech, Beard became the head coach of the Texas Longhorns, his alma mater, in 2021. He has a 29-13 record in two seasons and has led the Longhorns to 7-1 with wins over three ranked teams — Gonzaga, Arkansas and Creighton. Texas was ranked No. 2 in the country before dropping to seventh after the team fell to Illinois last week, its first loss of the season.
Texas is set to play Rice at 7 pm Monday at the Moody Center in Austin, followed by a trip to Dallas on Sunday to face Stanford at American Airlines Center.
Who is Chris Beard?
Beard started his coaching journey as a graduate assistant for the Longhorns in 1991. The road that led him back to his alma mater was long and winding, to say the least.
After leaving Texas in 1995, Beard spent time as an assistant at Abilene Christian and North Texas. He was the head coach at two different junior college programs. He even spent a year coaching the South Carolina Warriors, a semiprofessional team. Stints as the head coach at McMurry University in Abilene and Angelo State in San Angelo came next, before Beard started his Division I head coaching career at Arkansas-Little Rock.
By the time he reached Texas Tech in 2016, he had built a reputation as a defensive mastermind, with teams at each stop embodying his philosophy.
“They are really good at reaching, poking and digging things outta there,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said of the Red Raiders in 2019. “So it’s real. That defense is real.’
As was Beard’s coaching rise. He described himself and his teams as underdogs, but that title lost some relevance after Beard took Tech to the national title game in 2019.
Despite losing to Virginia 85-77 in overtime, Beard had certified himself as one of the nation’s most talked-about coaches. When Texas and former coach Shaka Smart parted ways in 2021, Beard was the clear target.
He was adored at Texas Tech, but that changed when Beard signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with Texas — a Big 12 conference rival.
“Chris did so much for this community, for this program,” Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said last year. “Had he gone to any other university, he’d be celebrated.
“But there’s just certain things you cannot do, and one of them is you can’t leave Texas Tech for Texas.”
A hostile crowd and plenty of boos awaited Beard when he made his first trip to Lubbock with the Longhorns last season. The Red Raiders and new head coach Mark Adams won that game, and eventually made it to the Sweet 16 — one step further than the Longhorns and Beard, who lost to Purdue in the second round.
But it was the Longhorns’ first NCAA Tournament win since 2014 under Rick Barnes, and Beard finished his first season at 22-12. After the Longhorns secured a top-six recruiting class and multiple transfers, expectations were high for this season.
So far, Texas had lived up to it.
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