The coaching change rumors pertaining to TCU’s Gary Patterson have always lingered because of the success he’s had, but Friday’s rumors went too far in Patterson’s estimation.
The Kansas State Rivals.com site GoPowercat.com reported midday Friday that Patterson was hired as the Wildcats’ new coach. On Wednesday, K-State dismissed Ron Prince, effective at the end of the season.
The site took down the report shortly after Patterson got wind of it.
“Anybody who would do anything like this right now, when I have a responsibility to my own university before my season is over ... I’m not real happy with people who fire people before a season is over,” Patterson said. “And I would be less happy with anybody who would ever talk about taking another job until they finish their own.”
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Patterson said he hasn’t talked to anyone from Kansas State about the job, but the coach does have plenty of ties to his alma mater. Patterson graduated from Kansas State in 1983 and played there from 1980-81. He was a graduate assistant for the Wildcats in 1982.
Patterson is under contract with TCU through 2012 and makes about $1.3 million annually, which makes him the second-highest paid coach from a school not in a conference with an automatic qualifier to the BSC bowls. Patterson’s buyout is believed to be about $750,000.
“Right now I’m about TCU and I’m about winning in two weeks,” Patterson said.
Patterson is in his eighth season as TCU’s head coach. He spent three years as TCU’s defensive coordinator before taking his first head coaching job with the Frogs.
“I’ve stayed here 11 years and turned down jobs. This is what I’m happy with.”
The No. 11 Frogs didn’t get back to campus until about 4 a.m. Friday after losing a 13-10 heartbreaker to No. 10 Utah on Thursday night in Salt Lake City. TCU (9-2, 6-1 Mountain West Conference) doesn’t play again until it hosts Air Force at 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 22.
Patterson arrived at his office midmorning before going home to take a nap. But a constant barrage of phone calls interrupted his sleep and he went back to TCU around 3 p.m. to confront the situation.
Patterson spent much of the afternoon reassuring his staff and players that he wasn’t leaving the school where he has forged a 71-27 career record. The Frogs have gone to six bowl games as a member of two conferences during Patterson’s tenure.
Patterson was concerned about losing recruits because of the false rumors. The Frogs currently have 15 oral commitments for the 2009 class, including four recruits rated four stars by Rivals.com. Patterson has had just five Rivals.com four-star recruits in his eight previous recruiting classes.