Aiming to secure its most successful football coach ever, TCU has awarded Gary Patterson a contract extension to 2022 that also makes him one of the highest-paid coaches in the country.
The extension announced Tuesday takes Patterson, the school’s football victories leader, to age 62 in Fort Worth. A person close to Patterson said he will be paid $4.7 million annually guaranteed with incentives, such as making the College Football Playoff or winning the coming Big 12 championship game, that could push him over $5 million.
“I don’t do this because of money,” Patterson said after practice Tuesday. “It’s about job security for my staff, it’s about showing recruits that TCU’s committed to the long haul and what we want to get accomplished and for us to keep moving forward as a program and as a university.”
Patterson, 56, was making $3.95 million per year, according to TCU’s most recent public tax filing.
“He deserves it,” athletic director Chris Del Conte said. “He’s arguably one of the best coaches in America, we’re very fortunate to have him, and we wanted to make sure the public knew, and that he knew, that he’s appreciated for his efforts here.”
I know Fort Worth is home. I know that he’s happy with the commitment that our trustees, our donors and our chancellor have given to his program and the athletic program as a whole.
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, on Gary Patterson
Patterson is TCU’s winningest football football coach, with a record of 143-47. At $4.7 million, he would have been in the top 10 nationally in salary, judging from data collected by USA Today.
Patterson is a 20-time coach of the year award winner, most recently in 2014, when he won honors from the Associated Press, Big 12, the American Football Coaches Association, The Sporting News and Eddie Robinson, Walter Camp and “Bear” Bryant awards.
“We’re not there yet,” Patterson said. “We haven’t won a national championship. You guys just think because it’s small, little TCU we’ve been great. We haven’t even got to where we need to get to. That’s why we’re out here running, ’til we get to where I think we should be. We’ll keep pushing.”
But Patterson’s impact is clear. TCU has won 10 games or more in 10 of the past 14 seasons. Before Patterson, TCU had four 10-win seasons total.
Gary Patterson played at Dodge City Community College and Kansas State. He has coached at Kansas State, Tennessee Tech, UC Davis, Cal Lutheran, Pittsburg State, Sonoma State, Utah State, Navy and New Mexico. He came to TCU in 1998 as defensive coordinator.
The school erected a statue of Patterson in April, putting him alongside TCU legends Dutch Meyer and Davey O’Brien.
Asked if TCU was concerned Patterson might be looking at other jobs, Del Conte said, “No, it had nothing to do with that. At the end of the day, it just goes back to like it did with baseball or any other program. We sit down and evaluate. This has been in the works for a long time. We just worked out the particulars and ensured that coach Patterson is a Frog until he desires to retire.”
Baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle also received a contract extension this year.
The Horned Frogs have won six conference titles, including a Big 12 co-championship in 2014, in three leagues under Gary Patterson.
Patterson, a Rozel, Kan., native, spent his first three seasons at TCU as defensive coordinator, giving him almost 20 years in Fort Worth.
TCU, coming off back-to-back top-10 finishes in the coaches and media polls, starts the season Sept. 3 against South Dakota State. The Frogs are 23-3 the past two seasons. They opened at No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll released last week.
In a tweet, Fox Sports reporter Bruce Feldman noted Patterson’s five top-10 finishes in the past eight seasons.
“I believe he’s happy. I know he’s happy,” Del Conte said. “I know Fort Worth is home. I know that he’s happy with the commitment that our trustees, our donors and our chancellor have given to his program and the athletic program as a whole. He knows we didn’t dip our toe in joining the Big 12, but we jumped all in, and we jumped all in with both feet, saying we are going to compete at the highest level, both academically and athletically.”
In a statement announcing the extension, Del Conte said, “Gary Patterson is synonymous with TCU and Fort Worth. His value to our community goes beyond the football field. It’s obviously a great day for our Horned Frogs Family when Coach Patterson reiterates that TCU and Fort Worth are his home!”
Patterson told reporters, “I’m very appreciative of the extension, not only for me, but for my staff because we’ve been together a long time,” he said. “And I’ve always told them, ‘I have it, you have it.’ ”