Gary Patterson still fighting the little guy peg against TCU

TCU coach Gary Patterson still has that chip on his shoulder.

Despite all of his success and millions in the bank the 59-year-old Horned Frogs coach still feels like the little guy in the Big 12 Conference.

Some of that is justified. TCU is the smallest school among the 10 in enrollment and just one of two private schools in the Big 12.

On Sunday night he defended TCU’s commitment to facility upgrades and renovations in response to a column by the Star-Telegram’s Mac Engel.

“Saw a tweet today that stated we are silly to keep upgrading to give you a better fan experience and to help us to recruit!” Patterson posted on Twitter. “Remember that greatness happens somewhere in a period of time where hard work and dreams meet! We must keep doing both!”

Patterson was asked about the comments during Monday’s Big 12 media days at AT&T Stadium.

“Everybody is saying in recruiting we’re not a big-time program, then they should look at how many guys we have going into the NFL and how we’ve played and how we’ve done things,” he said. “It was a well thought out process, it wasn’t that we wanted to do something because we wanted to do it. I think you have to be able to show kids in this day and age what you want to do … that’s exactly the statement and what it’s going to say when we’re done with it. It’s impressive.”

TCU’s $100 million premium seating expansion at Amon G. Carter Stadium’s east side is expected to be ready by mid-October. Patterson has posted updates of the construction on Twitter and is impressed. It not only looks cool, Patterson said, but the higher elevation on the east side should help make for a noisier stadium.

“You need to walk into our stadium and see how the east side and the new video board [has] changed the presence of our stadium,” he said. “I think it was exactly what we needed as far as recruiting-wise and fan experience-wise and I tell you, to be honest, it’s going to keep the noise in. It was already a loud stadium, but it’s going to get louder and I think our fans are going to love it.”

Part of the upgrades include a new grass turf that Patterson thinks will allow his team to play faster. It’s the same turf the team installed in the spring and summer of 2018.

“It’s very quick and I think it plays to our hand and how we do things. We’ve always believed that you tweak things even if you have great years,” he said.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.