TCU coach Gary Patterson has strong family ties to KU. His uncle played under Phog Allen.

Five Things to Know: TCU v. KU

Here are five things to know before the TCU Horned Frogs take on the Kansas Jayhawks.
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Here are five things to know before the TCU Horned Frogs take on the Kansas Jayhawks.

TCU coach Gary Patterson always likes going back to his native Kansas. It’s where his family roots are and he still has close friends living in the state.

Of course, that doesn’t matter come game time on Saturday when TCU and Kansas meet at 2 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence.

“They know how I am – for three hours, I’m not happy with anybody back there and they’re not happy with me,” said Patterson, who grew up in the west central part of the state in Rozel.

And, even though Patterson played at Kansas State, a trip to KU is always special. He has strong family ties to the school.

Patterson’s uncle, Harold Patterson, is part of KU athletics lore. He’s in the school’s Hall of Fame as a multi-sport star who played on the basketball team under legendary coach Phog Allen and was teammates with a man who became a legendary coach in his own right, Dean Smith.

TCU coach Gary Patterson’s uncle, Harold (middle picture on second row wearing No. 75), is in KU’s Hall of Fame. Drew Davison

Harold, a 6-foot-1 forward, played with Smith in the 1952-53 season and averaged 9.5 points. The Jayhawks went to the Final Four and lost to Indiana in the national championship game that season.

Harold also played on the 1953-54 team, averaging 11.2 points a game. Outside of basketball, Harold was a standout football and baseball player for the Jayhawks.

Patterson remembers Harold best for his post-college days as a standout professional football player in the Canadian Football League. Harold was known as “Prince Hal” in the CFL, and was part of a controversial trade that sent him from the Montreal Alouettes to the last-place Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1960.

“I have scrapbooks where they actually burned cars in the streets when they traded him,” Patterson said, smiling.

The only college memory he really has of his uncle was when he tried to talk him out of going to KU’s rival, K-State. Patterson could’ve followed Harold’s path, as well as his father, Keith, who played at KU.

But his mind had been made up to become a Wildcat.

“The only thing [Harold] really ever said to me was that he was not very happy with me that I went to Kansas State,” Patterson said. “He said, ‘I’ll make calls if you want to go to KU.’ I said, ‘You know, I just fit better in Manhattan.’”

The Patterson ties to Kansas aren’t the only TCU connections, either. In fact, Kansas’ first televised game was against TCU in 1952. Kansas won that game, 13-0,

A program from the KU-TCU game in 1952. It was the first televised game in Kansas history. Drew Davison

It wasn’t TCU’s first televised game, though. That happened in 1948 against Arkansas.

Kansas and TCU played its first football matchup in 1942, a 41-6 victory by TCU. The two schools played every season from 1944-64, but had fallout over a player who transferred from TCU to KU.

The story goes, according to TCU radio analyst and director of major gifts John Denton, that Bert Coan had just completed his freshman season at TCU in 1958 and attended an all-star game in the offseason that was paid for by a Kansas booster. Coan transferred to KU shortly after and TCU wouldn’t renew the game contracts between the two schools when it ran out in 1964.

TCU looked elsewhere for non-conference opponents and opened the season against No. 1 Nebraska in 1965. TCU and Kansas didn’t play again until 1982.

“Old timers tell me [Coan transferring] caused quite a rift,” Denton said.

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