Gary Patterson wandered into the media room after TCU’s 45-22 win over Baylor, smiled, and announced his contract extension through 2024. That was the latest, but not even close to only reason TCU fans should be thanking Chris Del Conte for his nine years of service as TCU’s Athletic Director.
My appreciation of Del Conte began with this quote, back in 2010, after it was announced that TCU had accepted an invitation to join the Big East.
"Having BCS automatic-qualifying status was a priority for our football program and a great reward for the success we've had the last decade," TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a statement.”
Of course, that appreciation turned to adoration when Del Conte stood up in front of thousands of TCU fans in the stockyards a year later and said, “We’re excited to be home,” as TCU announced that it was joining the Big 12.
Chris Del Conte has done right by TCU for the last nine years, and he should be thanked for it.
From the countless extensions of Gary Patterson and Jim Schlossnagle, to hiring top notch coaches like Jamie Dixon, Raegan Pebley, Jill Kramer, Eric Bell, and David Roditi, to fundraising insane amounts of money for not one, but two major renovations to Amon G. Carter Stadium, the building of Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena, and the multiple additions/renovations to Lupton Stadium, Del Conte has done it all.
His purple suits and winning smile will be missed, as will his leadership, but there’s no question that Del Conte has set TCU up to be successful in the future.
I know, people are going to be mad that he’s leaving. And sure, his time at TCU wasn’t perfect. Rising ticket prices, and the issues with filling the club seats in the Carter will stick with people. The fact that he’s heading not only to another Big 12 school, but hated Texas, won’t help.
Let’s be honest, though: Chris Del Conte, should (and will) largely be remembered for everything he did well for the Frogs.
And for Texas, they’re getting a good one. He’ll likely get the support and dollars he needs from the boosters, who are desperate for someone to bring Texas “back.” How he’ll handle moving from a place where he’s beloved, to a place with the highest expectations in the country is yet to be seen, but if anyone can do it, it’s him.
Meanwhile, TCU will be fine. Frogs lamented the departure of Danny Morrison, and CDC followed him brilliantly. I tend to trust people, and I trust Chancellor Boschini to find the right person to take the reigns.
Who knows, it may be someone already wearing purple.
So, thanks CDC.