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College basketball star coach arrested on strangulation charge

Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Chris Beard, the 49-year-old head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns men's basketball team, was arrested on a felony domestic violence charge in the wee hours of Monday morning.

Austin police say that they received an alarming call from the Beard residence at about 12:15 a.m. Monday morning. They described the 911 call as a "disturbance hot shot," which they later defined as "incidents which are in progress and are an immediate threat to life and/or public safety." They also added that they respond "immediately" to such calls.

Though what exactly happened at the home prior to that call is unclear, Austin PD eventually arrested Beard on a charge of assault on a family/household member — impede breath circulation, a third-degree felony that carries a sentence of two to 10 years behind bars. Beard was booked in Travis County Jail at 4:18 a.m. As of 9 a.m. Monday morning, he remained in custody, and according to the Dallas Morning News, his bond has not yet been set.

Beard and his wife, Leslie, have three daughters, though whether all five family members reside in the Austin home where Beard was arrested is unknown. It is also unknown whether other individuals were in the home at the time of the alleged incident.

Following news of Beard's arrest, the University of Texas released the following statement: "The University is aware of the situation regarding Chris Beard. We are continuing to gather information and monitoring the legal process."

Beard recently skyrocketed to fame in the college basketball world when he led the Texas Tech Red Raiders to the national championship game against the Virginia Cavaliers in 2019, an overtime thriller in which the Cavaliers ultimately prevailed. It was the most successful NCAA tournament run in Texas Tech history. Two years later, Beard signed a seven-year contract with Texas, his alma mater. The Longhorns are currently ranked No. 2 in the AP poll and are scheduled to take on Rice at home Monday night. Whether Beard will be available for the game or whether an assistant will be designated to assume head coaching responsibilities is unclear.

Beard's arrest marks the second time in as many weeks that a major college coach has been arrested on a domestic violence strangulation charge. On November 30, Robert "Mickey" Joseph, who acted as interim head football coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers this season, was arrested in Lincoln for third-degree domestic assault strangulation. As of December 1, Joseph was placed on administrative leave, pending further investigation. The status of his legal proceedings remains unclear.

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