Chris Beard, head coach of the University of Texas at Austin’s men’s basketball team, was arrested early Monday morning and charged with felony domestic assault, according to local police.
The Longhorns coach is accused of strangling a female family member; if convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
Beard signed a seven-year contract with UT Austin, worth $5 million a year, in 2021. The contract states that the university can terminate him for “any conduct (a) that the University administration reasonably determines is clearly unbecoming to a Head Coach and reflects poorly on the University, the Program, or The University of Texas System; or (b) resulting in a criminal charge being brought against Head Coach.”
In a brief statement released following Beard’s arrest, a university spokesperson said UT Austin was “aware of the situation regarding Chris Beard” and “continuing to gather information and monitoring the legal process.”
As of Monday afternoon, Beard was still in county jail, with no bail set for his release, according to online records of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office. Beard’s attorney, Perry Minton, said the allegations were false and called Beard’s arrest and continued imprisonment “truly inconceivable.”
“Coach Beard is 100 percent innocent of these charges,” Minton said in a statement to the Austin American Statesman. “He should have never been arrested. The complainant wants him released immediately and all charges dismissed.”
The Longhorns, ranked No. 2 in the country, were set to play Rice University Monday night; there was no indication whether or not Beard would be present for the game.