Chris Beard’s coaching career will end when he wants it to, not when someone else decides it for him. Because in America, allegedly biting and strangling a woman in your home isn’t enough to keep a good coach off the sidelines.
“He just snapped on me and became super violent,” reads the affidavit from a woman alleging to be Beard’s fiancee. “He choked me, threw me off the bed, bit me, bruises all over my leg, throwing me around, and going nuts.”
On Monday, the University of Texas men’s head basketball coach was arrested on a felony family violence charge and the school suspended him without pay “until further notice.” How long does “further notice” mean? No one knows as ESPN is reporting that the legal proceedings around this case could take more than a year to conclude.
“Coach Beard is 100 percent innocent of these charges,” his attorney Perry Minton, told the Austin American-Statesman. “He should never have been arrested. The complainant wants him released immediately and all charges dismissed. It is truly inconceivable.”
But, what we do know is that Beard’s career is far from over. And that’s not to say that it shouldn’t be if the facts are as they appear. It’s just knowing that there are a different set of rules for men like Beard in America, specifically when it comes to coaching — especially in college basketball.
Beard burst onto the national scene when he took Texas Tech to the national championship game in 2019. In a season that many will remember for being highlighted by a Duke team that featured Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, and Tre Jones, it was Beard’s underdog Red Raiders that were a few possessions away from winning a national title in the program’s first-ever Final Four appearance, as they fell to Virginia in overtime. Since then, Beard has been one of the hottest names in college basketball. After two more successful seasons in Lubbock, UT hired him to bring their program back to glory. It worked. The Longhorns are ranked No. 7 and were rolling…until what happened on Monday took place. Texas was able to hang on to beat Rice in overtime on Monday night without Beard as the Longhorns look to improve on their 8-1 record on Sunday when they host Stanford.
But, this column isn’t about Texas basketball. It’s about how history has shown us that the “current” head coach at Texas won’t have to pack up his whistle anytime soon.
College basketball is such a wonder that it owns an entire month — March. No other sport can keep America’s attention span for that long. However, college basketball is also a sport in which head coaches have a ton of power. And if you’re good — and white — fans and athletic directors will drink copious amounts of an elixir called “Oh, that thing was completely overblown. Give the guy another chance,” that will give them convenient amnesia about a coach’s sins while also allowing them to remember how beneficial that same coach is when it comes to winning games.
Here’s a list of college basketball head coaches who still somehow have jobs, were able to keep theirs after a scandal, or will be hired again at some point.
? Greg Gard (Wisconsin) — A year after firing a staff member for using the N-word (which led to one of the team’s few Black players transferring), Gard almost had a team mutiny on his hands. He followed that up by starting a brawl with Juwan Howard and Michigan during a postgame handshake line and came out of it looking like a victim. He’s still employed.
? Greg McDermott (Creighton) — Last year the Bluejays’ head coach must have been falling asleep to Django Unchained as he did his best reenactment of a slave owner. “Guys, we got to stick together. We need both feet in. I need everybody to stay on the plantation. I can’t have anybody leave the plantation,” McDermott told his team. The school suspended him for five seconds and quickly put the situation in the rearview. He’s still employed.
? Gregg Marshall (Wichita State) — In 2020 we found out that the Shockers coach is a maniac — as a former assistant described him — after it was alleged that he choked one of his assistants, punched a player, body-slammed another, and made fun of a third athlete’s Native American heritage. There was a lengthy investigation, but Marshall didn’t get fired. Instead, he just resigned and got a contract settlement of $7.75 million.
? Mark Few (Gonzaga) — Last year TMZ released a video of the Zags’ head coach from when he was arrested for a DUI. Few was drunk and annoyed and acted as if the police were beneath him. The footage shows Few refusing to do field sobriety tests, as he claimed they’re “totally subjective.” He pled guilty to misdemeanor DUI, was suspended for a few games, and the situation immediately blew over. He’s still employed.
? Will Wade (LSU) — LSU’s former coach was caught on an FBI wiretap discussing how he paid players. Everybody heard it and he still went to work every day. LSU suspended, then ultimately fired Wade after NCAA violations came down against him and his program, in a move that suggested that LSU was going to ignore federal evidence until the NCAA decided to punish the school. He’s not employed, but don’t be surprised when he gets hired again.
? Sean Miller (Xavier) — Earlier this week it was announced that Miller wasn’t going to be sanctioned by the NCAA’s Independent Resolution Panel from the fallout of what took place when he was at Arizona. Miller and Arizona were part of the FBI’s investigation into the sport, and it was alleged that he was paying DeAndre Ayton out of his own pocket. Miller has consistently denied paying players. As you can see, Miller is coaching at Xavier like nothing happened.
? Rick Pitino (Iona) — Pitino has had allegations and violations against him since he was an assistant coach at Hawaii in the 1970s. He’s still coaching.
In the coming weeks and months, Beard’s job status at Texas will be announced. We’ll also know more about this case as the details and facts will be revealed. There’s so much more to this story that we don’t know. However, given how things tend to go, the conclusion to this story is as predictable as a Tyler Perry production.
Chris Beard’s days of being a head coach are far from over. The combination of his talent and whiteness will save his career. Why? Because, sadly enough, someone somewhere will hire him because they care more about his suffocating defenses than the fact that he “allegedly” tried to suffocate his fiancee.
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