Balancing fatherhood and coaching TCU football a joy for co-OC Sonny Cumbie

TCU football cranks up the heat during practice at fall camp

Texas Christian University football team hit the field hard for Day 2 of fall camp in Fort Worth.
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Texas Christian University football team hit the field hard for Day 2 of fall camp in Fort Worth.

No profession is perfect for raising kids. Every job has its demands, whether it be time, travel or stress.

But it’s difficult to find a more time-consuming and pressure-filled job than coaching college football. TCU co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie knows this all too well.

Through it all, though, Cumbie has found the balance between coaching the Frogs’ offense and being dad to young sons Grey and Hays.

“With anything, if you want to be a really good dad, you can be a good dad, no matter where you work,” said Cumbie, who took the family to Utah for a vacation this offseason.

“I think the quality of time is as important as the quantity. There’s things about this job that are very difficult. The time obviously, but [my sons] are exposed to things that the kids they hang out with aren’t.

“They come to practice. They think the indoors is theirs. The quarterbacks coming over to the house is awesome, but it’s pretty ordinary to them. I think that’s pretty cool they get to be a part of that.”

Yes, most kids don’t get to run around TCU’s practice fields as though it’s the backyard. Cumbie, 38, somehow manages to find the energy to do it all.

It doesn’t hurt seeing his boss who is more than two decades older, Gary Patterson, with plenty left in the tank. At 59 and going into his 19th season as head coach, Patterson isn’t slowing down.

“He’s one of a kind,” Cumbie said. “When I’m his age, I hope I can still coach and have the same passion in all facets -- for kids, for football, for leadership. As a younger coach in this profession, you look across the landscape of college football and head coaches who have done things the right way over the 19 years of his career and the success he’s had, there’s not many of them out there that would match him.

“For me and all these coaches on the staff to be able to sit around and learn is invaluable. The intensity and the focus that he brings for football, the passion he brings for defense, it’s unmatched. It’s great. It’s a fascinating study in leadership.”

So how much does Patterson have left in the tank?

Cumbie smiled and said: “He’s got a lot left. … He does.”

Cumbie does too. Heck, Cumbie’s enthusiasm is what drew 2021 quarterback Alexander Honig out of Germany to become the Frogs’ first 2021 commit last month.

There’s no question Cumbie is determined to get the offense back on track after scoring the fewest points of the Patterson era in 2018. Inexperience at quarterback and injuries derailed much of what Cumbie and the offensive staff would’ve liked to do.

But this season is about getting it fixed and headed in the right direction. And, when there’s time, chasing little ones across the field too.

The biggest thing is the quality of time you have with them,” Cumbie said. “And that they know you’re intentionally with them when you’re with them.”

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