TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said he is disappointed men’s basketball is not getting better results in the Big 12, but he knew the work of making the Horned Frogs a contender would take time.
“I knew this was going to be a process,” he said. “We all think patience is a virtue, but it gets tested week in and week out when you look at how well we’re competing.
“They’re playing tough. I’m disappointed for the kids, disappointed for our coaching staff, just because they work so hard and put in that time.”
The Horned Frogs are 1-10 in the Big 12 since a 13-0 start in nonconference. They dropped their seventh consecutive game Wednesday night 66-43 to Texas. It was their largest margin of defeat and a season low in points.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
“It’s a deep, deep basketball league,” Del Conte said Wednesday after returning from the Big 12 athletic directors meetings in Dallas. “We’ve had two games in overtime that we could have won. We had a 3-point shot to tie Kansas to take it into overtime. It’s a game of confidence; those two games in overtime go a different way, the kids feel a little bit differently.”
TCU is investing in a renovation of the basketball arena, which will be complete in time for the program’s fourth season in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs have won only three games in the Big 12 so far under Trent Johnson.
“I know we’ve made tremendous improvements in terms of personnel, the type of product we’re putting on the court,” Del Conte said. “We expect, in all of our sports, to compete for championships. And we know it’s going to take a little longer for some than others to get there. I’m pleased with the effort and dedication our kids are putting forth.”
Del Conte used the word “fantastic” to describe the selection of Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt to represent the Big 12 on the College Football Playoff selection committee.
“Perfect, perfect person for the Big 12,” Del Conte said. “Played football at K-State. From Sherman, Texas. Was an All-Big Eight player. Chair of our football issues committee the last two years. Liaison to Grant Teaff’s committee. I mean, everything you think about, his pedigree is perfect to serve as our representative.”
Asked if Hocutt fit the “southern voice” model that Baylor coach Art Briles said was needed on the committee, Del Conte said, “All I know is that for our representative for the Big 12, we hit a home run.”
Del Conte said he did not consider himself for a spot on the committee.
Del Conte said retiring defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas’ contributions to TCU will be “everlasting” and can’t be replaced.
“You don’t replace a Dick Bumpas,” Del Conte said. “But the good thing about our coaching staff, we have a lot of continuity, people that have been around that defense for a long time. Everyone around him just absorbed what he taught them.”
Asked if coach Gary Patterson will promote from within to replace Bumpas, considering the continuity of the staff at TCU, Del Conte said: “Gary’s going to do what he feels is the best fit for TCU and his coaching staff. I know that he’s working through those details right now.”
Still happy at 10
Del Conte said the Big 12 athletic directors remain comfortable with a 10-team league and playing without a tiebreaker game.
“All that stuff has already been talked about,” he said. “There’s no panic right now. We like our position. We like a nine-game round robin. Nobody ducks anybody. The Big 12 has a phenomenal football reputation, so we believe over a period of time, with the strength of the Big 12 conference, that we’ll have our share of teams in the playoff over the next 14, 15 years.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760