TCU

TCU’s Gary Patterson has a new life motto, courtesy of Toby Keith and Clint Eastwood

TCU’s Patterson on bowl message to players: You’re there to represent TCU

TCU coach Gary Patterson said his players go to bowl games with "two strikes." He wants his players to enjoy the experience, but in the right manner.
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TCU coach Gary Patterson said his players go to bowl games with "two strikes." He wants his players to enjoy the experience, but in the right manner.

Don’t let the old man in.

That’s TCU coach Gary Patterson’s new motto.

“So I’m now 35,” Patterson said, chuckling at his signing day news conference on Wednesday.

Patterson, who turns 59 next week, has the new outlook after a conversation he had with country star Toby Keith about Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood and his latest film, “The Mule.

Keith spent a few days with Eastwood, and had a simple question -- how does Eastwood keep going and working from 5:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. at age 88? How do you have that kind of energy at that age?

Eastwood eventually said to Keith, “How do you that? I don’t let the old man in.”

That stuck with Keith, who wrote a song about it, and now Patterson.

“That’s my motto from now on,” Patterson said.

Patterson has gotten to know a number of artists such as Keith and Brad Paisley, often trading football helmets for guitars with them. He proudly displays a guitar given to him by Paisley in the “recruiting room” of his home.

For Keith, his song fittingly titled “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” became part of the film’s soundtrack.

“The Mule,” which is directed and starred in by Eastwood, is based on a true story of a World War II veteran who became a courier for a Mexican drug cartel in his 80s.

Part of Keith’s lyrics include --

“Don’t let the old man in, I wanna leave this alone

Can’t leave it up to him, he’s knocking on my door

And I knew all of my life, that someday it would end

Get up and go outside, don’t let the old man in.”

For Patterson, it’s a motto that he takes into his 19th season as head coach at TCU. He is coming off a trying season that saw him deal with a countless number of injuries, off-field headaches and heartaches, but ultimately ended with a bowl berth and bowl victory.

But a 7-6 season is not something that sits well with a coach that has posted double-digit winning seasons 11 times, including three in the past five years.

“I just need to do my job. I didn’t do as good as I needed to last year as far as where we got to,” Patterson said. “How do we get back to what we’re used to? That’s my charge right now.

“When you have a 7-6 season, that’s not good around here. Everybody can talk about the injuries ... as soon as you do that, you’re starting an excuse line.”

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Drew Davison is the TCU and Big 12 sports writer for the Star-Telegram. He’s covered everything in DFW from Rangers to Cowboys to motor sports.


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