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Former UT basketball coach Chris Beard will not face charges for alleged assault

A person in a suit with his hands on his hips
Chris Beard, then coach of the Texas Tech men's basketball team, stands on the sidelines during a March Madness game in 2019. UT Austin fired Beard after he was arrested on a domestic violence charge.

The Travis County District Attorney's Office is moving to dismiss the case against former UT Austin basketball coach Chris Beard, who had been accused of domestic assault.

"In every case, we are obligated to evaluate the facts and evidence and do our best to reach an outcome that will keep the victim and our community safe,” District Attorney José Garza said in a news release Wednesday.

The announcement comes about a month and a half after Beard lost the head coaching job at his alma mater.

Garza said his office took evidence, public statements and what Beard’s fiancé wanted into account.

"The felony offense cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," his statement said.

Austin police arrested Beard on Dec. 12. He was charged with assault by strangulation/suffocation for allegedly attacking his fiancé. She later said Beard did not strangle her.

After his arrest, UT suspended Beard without pay before ultimately deciding to fire him in early January. Beard’s attorney, Perry Minton, expressed shock at the university’s decision. Minton also argued Beard had not violated his contract.

“I am concerned that the University of Texas has made a terrible decision against the interest of the University, based on Twitter feeds and editorials – and not the facts concerning a truly innocent man,” Minton said in a statement Jan. 5. “The University has violated their agreement with the coach and we are devastated.”

At the time, UT Vice President for Legal Affairs James Davis said Beard was losing his job because of his behavior.

“Whether or not the District Attorney ultimately charges Mr. Beard is not determinative of whether he engaged in conduct unbecoming a head coach at our university,” Davis wrote in a letter to Minton.

UT hired Beard in April 2021, signing him to a seven-year contract that was supposed to pay him about $5 million per year. The university chose Rodney Terry to serve as the interim head coach for the men’s basketball team.

Becky Fogel is the education reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @beckyfogel.
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