TCU sports officials ‘win’ against Gary Patterson

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TCU head coach Gary Patterson resigned on Sunday after a meeting with administrators who wanted him to take a different position in 2022.

Bob booth

The mid-season release of TCU’s Gary Patterson was the result of an administration that was ready to transition to a new voice.

Athletic director Jeremiah Donati had the full support of school chancellor Victor Boschini in trying to convince Patterson to quit the job he had held since 2001.

According to sources, Patterson met with senior administrators at TCU on Sunday.

If Patterson had a chance to stay at the TCU in 2022 as a football head coach, he was going to have to make some concessions and changes.

This would have included the replacement of Patterson’s longtime friend, offensive assistant Jerry Kill, as well as offensive coordinator Doug Meacham.

These are the changes that would be important.

When that “suggestion” went south, Patterson was also encouraged to coach until the end of the season with the “offer” that he would take a high-level administrative position in 2022.

It’s similar to what Texas A&M did with RC Slocum in 2002, when it pushed him away from early retirement and easy money.

Gary is a lot of things, but stupid is not one of them.

The administration wanted him to go, and Patterson knew it.

So rather than being fired, he “resigned”.

Even if it’s run ‘the right way’, there is no right way to break up. And it was a break.

While he has a statue, and over the past two decades no one has meant more to TCU than Patterson, this was not an amicable split. It may take a few years to recover.

While Sunday’s reshuffle was inevitable, every TCU fan or follower born before 1998 fears its story more than it looks forward to its future, even if that includes Sonny Dykes, Jeff Traylor, or Bill Belichick.

For those TCU fans who have taken the tour, they know exactly what Gary Patterson means to their alma mater.

There’s no guarantee the next coach will be as successful as Gary Patterson.

Before TCU hired GP as a defensive coordinator for Dennis Franchione’s team in 1998, the program wasn’t just one of the worst in Texas. TCU football was one of the worst programs in the country.

TCU is switching coaches due to what essentially amounts to a bad four-year streak. In this age of powerful college football, four bad years make you “resign”.

Before TCU hired Fran ‘in 1998, and then Patterson as a full-time coach in 2001, TCU wasn’t coming off a bad four-year streak. He was coming out of a bad 38 years old.

From 1960 to 1999, TCU was never ranked in the final AP Top 25.

From 2002 to 2017, TCU was ranked 11 times in the final AP Top 25.

TCU football under Patterson was a series of achievements that led to greater achievements.

Win 10 games and finish 23rd nationally in 2002.

Defeat Adrian Peterson and Oklahoma to Norman en route to an 11-1 record in 2005.

Reach the Fiesta Bowl in the then BCS during the 2009 season.

Invites him to Conference USA, then Mountain West, and Big East.

Winning the Rose Bowl on New Years Day in 2011 and finishing second nationally.

The invitation to the Big 12.

Winning the Big 12 in 2014, and finishing third nationally with a resounding victory over Ole Miss at the Peach Bowl. (The 2014 team were robbed of a spot in the first college football playoff.)

TCU regularly beats Texas.

TCU hosted ESPN’s College Game Day.

TCU fans under the age of 25 (approximately) expect all of this.

TCU fans and supporters over 25 understand how bad this all can sound. Before Gary Patterson, the football team was not a source of pride but of embarrassment.

Before GP, TCU was Texas Christian University, the small school in Cowtown, Texas. Before Gary Patterson, alumni and TCU fans had to explain what “TCU” meant.

Kind of like what happened with the Mack Brown in Texas, somewhere it went wrong.

Administrations change. People become arrogant and complacent. A few recruiting classes that don’t bring in players, and in particular a quarterback, and you’re down.

Senior TCU executives have decided that the coach who is credited with building everything must step down.

Patterson disagreed, so he “quit”.

This is the deal.

While the finale was inevitable, it’s just sad that the Gary Patterson era ended like this.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist with extensive experience covering sports in the Fort Worth-Dallas area for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, the Big Four sports teams as well as the Olympics and the entertainment world. He combines a dry wit with first-person reporting to complement almost unfair locks.
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