Texas men’s basketball head coach Chris Beard was issued a protective order and faces 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 house on the 1900 block on Vista Lane, according to police. He faces a third-degree felony for assaulting a family member/household member – obstructing respiratory circulation. It is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Officers responded to an emergency call around 12:15 a.m. Monday 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 people involved had left the home, where officers located a woman who said Beard assaulted and strangled her, police said.
Beard was checked into the Travis County jail at 4:18 a.m., according to the sheriff’s office. He made his first court appearance Monday and was released after posting $10,000 bail.
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 warrant that expires Feb. 10, he is not allowed to be within 200 yards of his house, owning a firearm, or communicating with the woman in a threatening manner.
After leaving prison Beard did not respond to reporters’ questions. His attorney, Perry Minton, told Austin television station KEYE-TV Monday morning that Beard was “100 percent innocent of these allegations.”
“He should never have been arrested,” Minton said in a prepared statement. “The applicant wants his immediate release and a dismissal of all charges. It really is unimaginable.”
A spokesman for the University of Texas released a statement Monday that offered no information about Beard’s status with the team.
“The university is aware of the situation regarding Chris Beard. We continue to collect information and monitor legal processes.”
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 second in the country before falling to seventh after the team fell to Illinois last week, their first loss of the season.
Texas plays Rice at 7 p.m. Monday at the Moody Center in Austin, followed by a trip to Dallas on Sunday to face Stanford at the American Airlines Center.
Who is Chris Bart?
Beard began his coaching career in 1991 as a research assistant with the Longhorns. 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 coached the South Carolina Warriors, a semi-professional team, for a year. This was followed by stints as head coaches at McMurry University in Abilene and Angelo State in San Angelo before Beard began his career as Division I head coach 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 every stop that embodied his philosophy.
“They’re really good at reaching and poking and digging things up there,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said of the Red Raiders in 2019. “So it’s real. This defense is real.”
Just like Beard’s coaching rise. He described himself and his teams as underdogs, but that title lost some of its relevance after leading Tech to the 2019 national title game.
Despite losing 85-77 to Virginia in overtime, Beard had confirmed himself as one of the nation’s most talked about coaches. When Texas and ex-coach Shaka Smart parted ways in 2021, Beard was the clear target.
He was revered at Texas Tech, but that all changed when Beard signed a seven-year, $35 million deal with Texas — a Big 12 conference rival.
“Chris has done so much for this community, for this program,” Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt said last year. “If he had gone to another university, he would have been celebrated.
“But there are just certain things you can’t 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 the Sweet 16 – a step up from 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 debut season 22-12. After the Longhorns secured a top-six recruiting class and multiple transfers, expectations were high for this season.
So far, Texas has lived up to it.
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