TCU's Gary Patterson won't stop working

January, 8, 2011
1/08/11
5:54
AM CT
Even before TCU's Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, Horned Frogs athletic director Chris Del Conte had an extension in place for head coach Gary Patterson.

Del Conte knows that every year TCU continues to pile up wins and BCS bowl appearances, Patterson will keep showing up on "short lists" for top jobs in the country. So the AD's top mission is trying to make sure the coach that led TCU to its first perfect season since 1938 (a national championship year) doesn't go anywhere.

Patterson's contract makes him the coach through 2018. He'll be 58 when that season comes and goes, and Del Conte hopes Patterson's still hitching up his pants and re-tieing his shoes on the TCU sideline.

Patterson, in the mean time, isn't thinking about 2018. He's too busy hitting the recruiting trail. In typical Patterson fashion, he didn't take much time to savor a Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. Two days later, he was in his office reviewing recruiting film and meeting with his coaches. TCU has recruits coming to campus this weekend and next, and Patterson wants to make sure everyone is ready.

"It's tougher to try to stay at or near the mountain top than it is getting there," Patterson said. "You work hard and hang on tight when you're hanging off the cliff. You should do the same when you're at the top of the mountain. That's how you stay there."

That's why Patterson has the new contract. Several times during our conversation Friday night he talked about not getting complacement. He wants to be sure that 2009's Fiesta Bowl appearance and the Rose Bowl win after this season is simply the continuation of a level of success put in place since Patterson arrived on campus in 1998 as defensive coordinator under Dennis Franchione. That staff began TCU's turnaround. Patterson has taken it to new heights, putting TCU on a national stage with two consecutive BCS bowl appearances. The school heads to the Big East in 2012, ready to play in a conference with an automatic BCS bid.

"We're 0-0 now," Patterson said.

So the coach and his staff -- they were also taken care of in this new deal -- are back at work to put the pieces in place to see that the Horned Frogs are in a position to try to duplicate this past season's success. TCU is smart to do all it can to keep Patterson happy and in Fort Worth.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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