Gary Patterson took over the TCU Horned Frogs in 2000, leading the program for over two decades until his resignation days ago. He was known as one of the best head coaches in the sport, winning multiple national coach of the year awards in 2009 and 2014, and getting TCU to the doorstep of the College Football Playoff in its first year.
Patterson joined the TCU staff as defensive coordinator, serving under Dennis Franchione. When Franchione left for his short stint as Alabama head coach, Patterson was elevated to TCU head coach.
When a program makes a coaching change, it is fairly common for the powers that be to look for a different type of person to lead. Offensive-minded coaches replace guys with defensive backgrounds, players coaches follow disciplinarians, so on and so forth.
TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati has a tough job in front of him, hiring the replacement for a program legend like Patterson. Today, he gave a pretty interesting answer on that process, acknowledging that the next person will likely have a background in offense.
#TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati says it would be difficult to bring in a defensive-minded coach to replace Gary Patterson, given GP’s background. Says they wouldn’t eliminate anyone but someone with offensive ties is “more natural.”
Pretty transparent comment. Wow.
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) November 2, 2021
In a vacuum, that wouldn’t be a huge surprise as Patterson was a defensive coach. However, one would think it would matter less coming off of a 20-year tenure, vs. a four year coach who failed to succeed.
Patterson’s tenure certainly seemed to be growing stale, but it wasn’t because Patterson was a defensive coordinator 20 years ago.
The Big 12, perhaps more than any other college football conference, puts offense ahead of everything else. The trend in the sport as a whole has certainly been to hire younger offensive gurus. At the same time, one could make the argument that having a defensive focus could exploit an inefficiency in the league. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to rule out any options at this point, and while Donati didn’t fully do that, it certainly looks like his primary focus will be on coaches with offensive backgrounds.
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