TCU opens its doors to Rice in wake of Hurricane Harvey

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TCU is lending a helping hand to another in-state football program, Rice University, by giving them refuge from the trauma of Hurricane Harvey.

The Horned Frogs will share their facilities with the Rice football team this week, according to a press release from the university. The Owls were in Australia for a game against Stanford when Harvey hit Houston.

I called them last night and said do you need any help, we’re here to help you,” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said.“That was before they got on the plane for Australia and when they landed in Los Angeles they told me they were coming to Fort Worth.”

The team is en route from Los Angeles as they make their way back to Texas Monday afternoon.

“There is a strong brotherhood in the coaching world and it is never more evident than at times like these,” Rice football head coach David Bailiff said. “While we would love to be coming home today, our first responsibility is the safety of these players.”

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, who served as the athletic director at Rice from 2006-2009, said it’s all about relationships. Bailiff served as the defensive line coach and defensive coordinator under Gary Patterson from 2001-2003, and Del Conte Hired Bailiff to be the head football coach at Rice in 2007.

David Bailiff used to be Gary’s [Patterson’s] assistant years ago, they’re great friends, and I hired him to be the head coach at Rice,” Del Conte said. “In Texas when someone needs a helping hand, you give a helping hand. That’s what great about this state and this country.”

TCU has an indoor practice facility as well as outdoor practice fields for the Owls to utilize while they’re in Fort Worth.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming outreach and support from our friends in the college athletics community,” Rice Athletics Director Joe Karlgaard said. “The terrific people at Anthony Travel, United Airlines, TCU and Baylor in particular have helped out football and volleyball programs stay safe while we wait to return to Houston.”

Rice’s campus is shut down through Tuesday, but it’s unclear when the team will head home. Harvey has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but Houston and many South Texas areas are still coping with significant property damage and flooding. Bailiff said going home too soon could only make things worse.

“We learned some lessons in 2008 (when the Owls were at Vanderbilt when Hurricane Ike struck Houston) about coming home too soon,” Bailiff said.

Owls head coach David Bailiff said Baylor, SMU and UTEP also offered to help the team this week with whatever they needed.

Del Conte said the Horned Frogs also offered the same invitation to the University of Houston earlier in the week, but they chose to go to Austin and the University of Texas.

TCU hosts Jackson State in its season opener Saturday at 7 p.m. CT. Rice does not have a game this week. The Owls’ next game is at UTEP Sept. 9.