No disrespect to any other sport, but the big 3 in terms of college athletics are football, basketball, and baseball. I am an appreciator of sports of all kinds, but at the end of the day, it's these sports that get the most attention across the nation, especially down here in the south and the mid-west.
Now I'm not saying that TCU has the best coaches in the country, but with the addition of Jamie Dixon, on paper TCU's coaching resume is pretty darn hard to beat right now. The question of what makes a head coach a good head coach, and what makes a great head coach will result in a very subjective answer. For example, some people may look down a lot more on a coach that does not have a national championship. ESPN just released a list of the top 5 college football and college basketball coaches to not win a national championship, and 2 of those coaches on this list are in this article...
Head coaching record: 143 - 47 (.753 winning percentage).
BCS Bowl game appearances: 3
Conference Championships: 6
Years at TCU: 16
Coach of the year awards: 2 (2009, 2014)
The all time winningest coach in TCU football history was just honored with a statue in front of the Ed & Rae Schollmaier arena this past weekend. Ever since taking over for TCU in their first ever bowl game of the 21st century, Patterson has won 6 conference championships in 3 different conferences. A feat that few coaches have accomplished, with the only one that comes to my mind being Urban Meyer of Ohio State.
Even though he probably didn't want the statue, he darn well deserves one. He has taken a program that used to be a stepping stone for other programs and has turned it into one of the most consistent, most winning programs of the past two decades. Patterson has had ten double digit winning seasons in his fifteen seasons, and could make it eleven at the end of his sixteenth.
The biggest knock against Patterson's claim to everlasting greatness is that he hasn't won a national championship yet. Of all the sports in the world, you could easily make the case that of all the championship games in sports, the college football National championship game is the hardest to get to. I'm not making excuses for Patterson, but you have to take a lot of things into consideration when it comes to winning a national championship.
Since the BCS era, in order to reach the big game, a team had to finish the season with at most one loss (except for that weird year where LSU had 2). If you managed that, then your team had to be in an Automatic Qualifying conference in order to be taken seriously by the BCS, less you get relegated to the "little kids table" (e.g. TCU & Boise State in 2010). Even then you had to be considered one of the two best teams according to the BCS poll numbers, leaving almost no margin for error.
The new playoff committee has a new list of criteria that even I can't make heads or tails of, but I do wonder if they would have included either of the 2009 or 2010 TCU teams in their final four if they were around back then. GP is entering his 5th year in a Power 5 conference and was arguably snubbed out of an opportunity to compete for one back in 2014/2015. However, if Coach P keeps up his consistent success in the Big 12, then there's little doubt in my mind that an appearance by Gary Patterson in the final four is inevitable. After all, over the past 10 years, the only two programs that have had more top-ten ranked finishes than TCU are Oregon and Alabama.
Head coaching record: 593 - 283 (.677 winning percentage)
Record at TCU 516-236 (.686 winning percentage)
Years at TCU: 13 years
College World Series appearances: 3 (2010, 2014, 2015)
Coach of the year awards: 1 (2010)
At the end of the 2003 season, TCU hired the skipper to take over their baseball program, and he made an immediate impact. In fact, the Frogs finished first in the Mountain West Conference every single year from 2006 to 2012, which coincidentally was every year that TCU was in the conference. Since joining the Big 12, the Frogs have posted a combined record of 47-24, and have won the Big 12 conference tournament and regular season championships in 2014 and 2015, respectively. This past season, Schlossnagle became the all-time winningest coach in TCU baseball history.
Reaching the CWS is a difficult feat, but reaching back to back appearances is something that only a few coaches in the modern era can boast about. Not to mention that Schloss has made three appearances in this decade alone.
Head coaching record: 328 - 123 (.727 winning percentage)
NCAA tournament appearances: 11
Conference championships: 2 regular season, 1 tournament
Sweet 16 Appearances: 3
Years at TCU: First Year
Coach of the year awards: 4 (2004, 2009, 2010, 2011)
The Prodigal son has returned. While we haven't seen Dixon coach while wearing a purple and white tie in the Schollmaier just yet, we have seen him take a struggling program to high places once before. At Pitt he was able to guide them to their winningest period in school history, from 2001-2004. He has coached in the Big East and the ACC, so he is familiar with competing against a high level of competition that he will see in the Big 12. After spending 17 years at Pitt, 13 of those as head coach, Dixon decided that it was finally time to come home. It's time to see how much life he can breath into this shooty hoops program.
While these sports aren't part of the big three that bring in the most revenue, TCU still doesn't slouch when it comes to the coaching staff of the smaller sports.
Raegan Pebley - The head coach for the Frogs Women's Basketball team has gotten the Lady Frogs to the postseason in her first two years as head coach. She for sure has experience, coaching at both Utah State and Fresno State before she made her way to Fort Worth. Regan has made a huge impact on the recruiting trail as well, with the 15th-ranked recruiting class for 2016. At the rate that Pebley is building momentum and a solid foundation for the women's team, don't be surprised if we start to see NCAA tournament banners hanging in the Schollmaier in the near future.
David Roditi - The head coach for the men's tennis team is another Frog coaching at his alma mater. The three time All-American who still holds the school record for most career victories has brought a philosophy of winning back to TCU tennis. After missing the NCAA tournament a year ago, Roditi's squad reached the final four for the fourth time in school history, earning him National Coach of the Year honors. During the 2015 season, his team knocked off a total of four top-ten ranked teams. When he inherited the program, it was a top-50 one, but now Roditi has turned it into a top-ten, with a current #2 ranking for the Men's Tennis team.
Karen Monez - The woman that helped found the TCU women's rifle dynasty. Entering her thirteenth year, Monez has seen her team finish in the top-5 nationally for the past eight seasons. Since her first championship appearance with TCU in 2007, her team has not failed to make an appearance in the nine years since then. In 2010 and 2012 the women's rifle team brought home the title, and was able to finish third in 2008, 2011, 2013, and 2015. Ladies & gents, we may have found the Nick Saban of women's rifles.
What's interesting about all three of the revenue coaches is that they all inherited a program that was struggling and not living up to its potential. None of them came into a situation where success was a lot more likely than failure, like the basketball program at Kentucky, or the football program at LSU (no disrespect to Coach Cal or Les Miles).
Patterson stepped in when Franchione left for Texas A&M and then proceeded carry the program to enough respectability to get accepted into the Big 12.
Schloss came into a team that was inconsistent and would finish around .500 more often than not.
While Dixon hasn't yet posted a season at TCU, which has finished last in the conference three out of the past four years, he was the fourth head coach that Pitt had in ten years. The program was just experiencing real success the two years prior to Dixon becoming the head coach, but he was able to make that success sustainable and reached the NCAA tournament 11 times in his 13 years there.
I cannot think of another program that beats TCU on the coaching front. Yes there are individual coaches that most people would say are better than the coaches we have. Alabama has Nick Saban, Duke has Coach K, and Vanderbilt has Tim Corbin, and they are all fantastic coaches that will almost certainly be in their respective halls of fame. However, Alabama doesn't have the same level of success at baseball that TCU does and the same goes for football with Duke and Vanderbilt.
If I had to pick a school that is closest to TCU in terms of coaching quality for these three sports RIGHT NOW, I would say either the University of Texas or the University of North Carolina. The Horns have Strong, Smart, and Garrido. While Strong is struggling, he has proven that he can lead a program to success like he did at Louisville. Smart's record at VCU along with his tournament record speaks for itself. Good Ol' Auggie may be the Crypt Keeper of college baseball. While at Texas he has won two titles, made eight college world series appearances, and won seven conference titles. Whereas UNC has Larry Fedora for football, legendary basketball coach Roy Williams, and Mike Fox as manager for their baseball program.
Who do you think is a school that can match TCU's overall coaching prowess? Let us know in the comments!