What more can possibly said about TCU Coach Gary Patterson and Coach of the Year awards? Coach P took home yet another coach of the year award this evening in Houston, accepting the Paul "Bear" Bryant award from the ceremony that shares his name.
The award, that is given to coaches who "possess the ability to inspire, the patience to teach, and the gift of leadership" is in it's 29th year of existence, and is named after the legendary Alabama coach who won 24 bowl games and six national championships at the helm of the Crimson Tide. The award benefits the American Heart Association. Interestingly enough, the only Alabama coach to win the award was Gene Stallings in 1992, but the Tide's primary rival, Auburn, has had four different coaches take home the title, including Gus Malzahn last year. Former Boise State head coach Chris Petersen is a two time winner, while the Big 12 has claimed five trophies, most recently by Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy.
Patterson won the award over Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze - whose Rebels were overpowered in the Chick Fil A Peach Bowl by Paterson's Horned Frogs to the tune of 42-3 on New Year's Eve - and current Bronco head man Bryan Harsin, who beat Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl. Alabama coach Nick Saban and Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, both of whom participated in the College Football Playoff but were eliminated in the first round, were also eliminated from consideration because they did not attend the ceremony. Patterson passed on the opportunity to give Freeze a jab about the Peach Bowl win, once again showing the class that has endeared him to the media and fans throughout the past month as he has discussed TCU's snub from the inaugural CFP. "We all work hard to do what we do. He's (Freeze) a really good man, He's come to the Ole Miss program and done a phenomenal job turning the program around." When asked if this was the finest coaching job of his career, he responded in typical Coach P fashion, saying, "Hopefully it's not our best. Hopefully the best is yet to come."
We hope so too, coach, we hope so too. But in the meantime, TCU fans will revel with our coach as he is recognized yet again for his outstanding contributions to TCU and college football in general, and the outstanding job he has done in Fort Worth, leading the Frogs to a conference championship in just their third season in the Big 12.
Former Oklahoma State Cowboy, Miami Hurricane, and Dallas Cowboy coach Jimmy Johnson was given the lifetime achievement award during the ceremony as well.