The athletic year at TCU began with a fresh idea — the Horned Frogs were going to try a new offense in football.
It ended with a repeat — heading to Omaha with the baseball team.
From August to June, TCU athletics experienced perhaps its most successful school year ever.
Football and its souped-up offense won a share of the Big 12 championship. Baseball returned to the College World Series. Men’s tennis reached the sport’s final four. Rifle finished in the top three in the country. Men’s and women’s basketball both got back on their feet, and sprinter Ronnie Baker won a 60-meter indoor track championship.
There have been good individual and team seasons before at TCU.
But rarely have so many occurred in the same school calendar year.
The only other stretch that can rival it was 10 years ago, when the 2005 football team went 11-1 and won the Mountain West title, followed in the spring by the baseball team winning the Mountain West, the women’s tennis team winning the Mountain West, the women’s basketball team going to the NCAA Tournament and Jackson Langat winning the conference 800-meter indoor championship.
The past 11 months included record crowds in football, baseball and tennis. Football has sold a record 33,300 season tickets in anticipation of a top-five debut in the rankings. A renovated basketball arena is on the way. Improvements are coming to baseball’s Lupton Stadium.
But before the football players gather again for the first practice in the symbolic start to the next school year, here is a recap of the highs from the completed season — or more accurately, seasons — at TCU.
The Horned Frogs reached their third College World Series in the past six seasons, won 50-plus games for the second time in five seasons and claimed their first Big 12 regular-season title. The team played before the third- and eighth-largest crowds in TD Ameritrade Park’s five seasons hosting the CWS and twice set the Lupton Stadium attendance record during the super regional series against Texas A&M.
The women’s team under first-year coach Raegan Pebley got its first postseason victory in seven years (in the NIT against Stephen F. Austin) and won a program-high nine Big 12 games. Senior forward Chelsea Prince was the league’s defensive player of the year with a school-record 103 steals. The men won their first Big 12 conference tournament game and their first Big 12 road game.
Gary Patterson’s team won a share of the Big 12 championship, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl by the largest margin in the game’s history and finished No. 3 in the final AP and coaches polls. Quarterback Trevone Boykin set school records for passing yards and touchdown passes and was fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting. Linebacker Paul Dawson recorded the most tackles in a season by a Patterson player at TCU, earning Big 12 defensive player of the year and Walter Camp All-America honors.
Men’s indoor track
Baker set a school record in winning the 60-meter national championship. His time of 6.52 beat the mark of 6.53 run by Kim Collins in 2000. It was the second 60-meter national championship for TCU (Collins also won in 2001) and it gave the school a national indoor champion for four consecutive years.
Men’s outdoor track
The 4x100-meter relay team ran the eighth-best time in the world two weeks ago, a 38.59 at the NCAAs in Eugene, Ore., that gave the Horned Frogs second place. (Arkansas ran a school-record 38.47). The TCU mark — set by Cameron Echols-Luper, Sam Watts, Baker and Kolby Listenbee — was the sixth best all time at TCU.
Reached the national semifinals, losing four matches to three to Oklahoma. The team’s 25-8 record marked its most wins since 1995. Cameron Norrie reached the quarterfinals in the NCAA individual play. Guillermo Nunez and Nick Chappell also qualified for the NCAAs, giving the Horned Frogs three individual bids in national singles for the first time. The team finished ranked No. 4, its highest since 1996.
The team, under first-year coach Lee Taylor Walker, finished 19-9 for its most wins since 1998 and posted its highest Big 12 finish, second. The squad also qualified for the ITA national indoor championships for the first time since 2007 and finished with a No. 17 ranking, matching the second-highest in team history.
Rifle finished third in the NCAAs, the third top-three national finish in the past five seasons for the Horned Frogs. ... Men’s golf posted a top-10 finish at the NCAAs, the fourth in team history but first since 2009. ... Men’s swimming was second at the Big 12 meet for a second consecutive season and set six school records at the conference championships.
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760
In its third year in the Big 12, TCU finished at the top of the league standings in several sports:
Big 12 rec.