UT claims Chris Byrd was fired for ‘good cause’, documents show

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The University of Texas on Thursday provided KXAN with a notice of termination and correspondence between an attorney for fired UT head basketball coach Chris Beard and the university.

UT Director of Athletics Chris Del Conte announced on Thursday that Byrd had been fired immediately. A resignation letter from UT alleges that Byrd was fired “for good reason” following the coach’s arrest on domestic violence charges in December.

Byrd was arrested on December 12 after Austin police were called home around 4 a.m. According to APD testimony, Byrd was accused of biting and strangling his fiancée.

On December 12, UT announced that it had suspended Bird without pay following his arrest. Just over three weeks later, Texas announced that Byrd had been fired.

Relationship between UT and Beard’s lawyer

Byrd behaved inappropriately, making him unsuitable for a job as a head coach at the university, according to documentation from the office of UT’s vice president of legal affairs, which was sent to Byrd’s attorney.

“Being a head coach at the University of Texas at Austin is about more than just winning.
games,” the document says. “The privilege of coaching comes with a great responsibility that goes beyond simply preventing inappropriate behavior.”

According to Byrd’s lawyer, the message from the university came as a shock, stating that Byrd was innocent of any crime and had done nothing as head coach that would reflect badly on the university or lead to criminal prosecution.

“He was arrested, then his fiancée retracted her previously stated testimony, and I expect the Travis County District Attorney to dismiss all charges very soon.
in this matter,” Boroda’s lawyer said.

On Thursday, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office released a statement on the case.

“The case is still pending and our prosecutors are evaluating all evidence, including recent allegations and all evidence gathered by law enforcement. Our office takes all allegations of domestic violence seriously; in each case, we aim to address unique challenges,” the statement said.

In a letter to UT, Beard’s attorney wrote that the former head coach was “innocent of any crime and did nothing that” (a) is inappropriate for a head coach and reflects badly on the university, or (b) led to criminal charges. ”

In a December 23 statement, Beard’s fiancée, Randy Trew, said he did not choke her and never wanted to press charges against him.

True said Beard was acting in self-defense and she “doesn’t believe Chris was trying to intentionally hurt me.”

“False reports and biased editorials cannot be attributed to a breach of contract by an innocent party,” the lawyer said.

However, the university said it exercised deliberate restraint to allow time for additional material facts to come to light in the case.

Although the university acknowledged that Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte supported Beard and the program during the pre-action pause, presuming him innocent, this support was not a definition of Beard’s behavior.

“It is misleading to view a manager’s support for an employee as a statement of belief in criminal guilt or innocence,” the university said in a statement.

Specifically, the university stated that there appeared to be an incorrect underlying assumption that the outcome of the criminal trial determined the outcome of Byrd’s employment.

“We are looking at his actual behavior, not whether some of the actions are a crime,” the university said.

In addition, according to the university, Byrd did not understand the meaning of the behavior that he knew he was doing.

“This lack of self-awareness is another deficiency in judgment, due to which [Beard] unfit to work as a head coach at our university,” the UT document says.

What’s Next for Texas Basketball

Byrd’s less than two-year stint in Texas ends after 42 games. Texas deputy head coach Rodney Terry has been named acting head coach for the remainder of the 2022-23 season.

Terry has been head coach since December 12. Texas leads 5-1 in these games under Terry.

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