TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini has had to convince Head Football Coach Gary Patterson that the fans want it (seriously, where do I donate!?!), but it has been announced that Coach P's role building the Horned Frogs into a force to be reckoned with will be honored by a statue of the coach outside Schollmaier Arena. Boschini told the San Antonio Express-News the other day, "It's taken me five years. I finally convinced him that it wasn't for him, but TCU."
Gary Patterson was born February 13, 1960 in his home town of Rozel, Kansas. His father had played briefly in the Canadian Football League, and his mother was a nurse for over 40 years. Young Gary played football and baseball at Dodge City Community College before playing two years as a walk-on linebacker at current Big 12 rival, Kansas State University. He began his coaching career at Kansas State as an assistant in 1982. After a number of other assistant coaching jobs (including at California Lutheran University just a couple of years before I was working on an MBA there), Patterson joined Dennis Franchione's staff at the New Mexico Lobos in 1996. In 1998, Fran convinced Patterson to tag along to Fort Worth as TCU's defensive coordinator, which he did for three seasons.
When the enigmatic Franchione left for Alabama at the end of the 2000 season, Patterson was hired on Dec 7th of that year as TCU's 30th head coach. It was his first - and hopefully last - head coaching job. On his 13th day as TCU's Head Coach he lost his first game 28-21 to Southern Mississippi in the Mobile Alabama Bowl. At the end of the following season, Patterson was sure he was going to be fired. Then things got better, as you may have heard. Now after 15 years, Patterson has the 3rd longest tenure among current FBS head coaches. Only Bob Stoops at Oklahoma 17 and Kirk Ferentz at Iowa have been at their schools longer, at 17 years each.
In Patterson's 15 years as TCU's Head Coach, we've seen:
1 AP Coach of the Year honor (2009)
#1 Record nationally when ranked as an AP Top 5 Team (25-2, .926)
2 Seasons (only) with no bowl invitation (2004, 2013)
2 Near misses at playing for the National Championship (2010, 2014)
3 Consecutive Mountain West Conference Championships (2009-11)
5 Conferences (Including Big East)
5 Number One rankings nationally for total defense - incl. 3 consecutive 2008-10
6 Conference Championships (C-USA 2002, MWC 2005, 2009-2011, Big 12 2014)
8 Bowl game victories
8 Seasons with eleven-plus wins
10 Seasons with ten-plus wins
10 Top-25 final rankings
20 National Coach of the Year honors
20 Players selected All-Conference in 2009 (TCU record)
22 game winning streak as an AP Top 5 ranked team (2014-15)
36 Players drafted to NFL
82 players in NFL camps
89 Conference game victories
142 Game victories (one of four active head coaches with at least 142 wins)
164 million dollars donated to renovate the Carter, influenced by Patterson's success
In 2012 Patterson became the winningest coach in TCU's history. He surpassed Dutch Meyer's 109 wins from 1934-52 with his 110th win (a 56-0 pasting!) against Grambling that season. In 2019, Patterson would (I really want to say WILL) also surpass Meyer as the longest tenured head coach at TCU.
Coach Patterson would be the first to tell you it's all about the players. And he's right. He's recruited some great players, and it just seems to be getting better all the time. He's coached some real talent and even converted many players to new positions where they have excelled. But those players will also tell you it has a lot to do with Coach P. And they're right. They've had an excellent coach, mentor, and some will even say a second father. Coach P once said he loved us TCU fans. Well, Gary, right back at'cha. There's a reason the "Sons of Patterson" t-shirts sold like hot cakes. One of my prized possessions is the cap I bought at the Rose Bowl that Coach P autographed that evening after the win. I had watched Patterson deal with a lot of adversity on the way to arriving at that historic night, and I had admired how he'd handled it every step of the way. That's why I'm personally thrilled to see that Coach P will be honored with this statue.
I guess now the only remaining question is will the statue be tugging at its belt or tying its shoes? Just kidding! Love you Coach P!