Texas suspends coach Chris Beard after arrest on assault charge for alleged strangulation of family member

Texas men’s basketball coach Chris Beard, 49 was arrested early Monday morning after allegedly strangling a person at a home. Beard was booked at 4:18 am CT with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office seeking a felony third-degree assault charge, according to police records.

Police responded to a “disturbance hot shot” 9-1-1 call, defined as “incidents which are in progress and are an immediate threat to life and/or public safety (ie shootings, stabbings, rapes, riots). These calls are dispatched immediately.”

The Austin Police Department issued this release Monday afternoon regarding Beard’s arrest: “On December 12, 2022, at approximately 12:15 am, the Austin Police Department (APD) received a 9-1-1 call for a disturbance in the 1900 block of Vista Lane. The caller reported the disturbance was no longer ongoing and one of the individuals had left the house. APD officers responded and located a woman who stated she had been assaulted and strangled by Christopher Michael Beard. Beard was booked into Travis County Jail. He is charged with Assault by Strangulation/Suffocation – Family Violence, a third degree felony.”

On Monday evening, Texas suspended Beard indefinitely and without pay.

“The University takes matters of interpersonal violence involving members of its community seriously,” the school said in a statement. “Given the information available, The University has suspended Chris Beard from his position as head coach of Men’s Basketball and will withhold his pay until further notice. Associate Head Coach Rodney Terry will serve as acting head coach for tonight’s game against Rice.”

Beard, who is out of police custody, went before a magistrate judge in Austin Municipal Court on Monday afternoon and had his bail set at $10,000, according to official court records. There is a protective order active until at least Feb. 10, 2023, the terms of which prevent Beard from being within 200 yards of the alleged victim or the residence at which the 9-1-1 call was made. Beard is also not allowed to carry a firearm at this time. Additionally, while Beard is permitted to communicate with the complainant in the case, he’s strictly prohibited from doing so in any type of threatening or intimidating manner.

Late Monday, multiple media outlets acquired the affidavit for Beard’s arrest. In the arrest report, the alleged victim told police that Beard “choked me, threw me off the bed, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around, and going nuts.”

The victim also told police they “just did not feel safe.”

Beard’s lawyer issued the following statement to local media Monday morning. In it, the lawyer claims the plaintiff wants the charge against Beard dropped.

Texas poached Beard from Big 12 rival Texas Tech in 2021. With the Red Raiders, and during his short stint with Little Rock, Beard rocketed himself into the upper echelon of the coaching ranks as one of the sport’s rising stars. Beard went 30-5 in one season at Little Rock, advancing to the NCAA Tournament, before spending five seasons at Texas Tech where he went 112-55 and competed for the national championship in 2019.

A former Longhorns team manager under Tom Penders, Beard has gotten off to a fast start at his alma mater. Texas reached the NCAA Tournament and won 22 games in his first season. Texas is 7-1 to start the 2022-23 campaign, having reached as high as No. 2 in the AP Top 25.

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