TCU hires ‘first and only choice’ Jeremiah Donati to become next athletic director

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TCU Chancellor Dr. Victor J. Boschini Jr. announced the hire of Jeremiah Donati as the Horned Frogs’ new director of intercollegiate athletics. Donati replaces former TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte moved to the University of Texas after eight years with the Horned Frogs.

“Today I am delighted to name Jeremiah Donati to this new role,” Boschini said. “I’m excited to see what we can achieve under his leadership.”

Boschini went with an internal promotion in choosing Donati who had been an associate vice chancellor and associate athletics director for development since 2013. He was promoted to Deputy Athletics Director in August of 2016 after arriving on campus in 2011 with his first role at TCU being the Executive Director of Frog Club, the booster organization for the university. He was key in the final stages of fundraising for the $164 million rebuild of Amon G. Carter Stadium in addition to being the point person for the $72 million renovations of Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena, Lupton Stadium upgrades and other improvements to practice facilities, locker rooms and athletic lounges.

“From the moment I set foot on campus almost seven years ago I knew immediately that the TCU community was very special and I feel incredibly blessed and humbled to be appointed to the position of director of intercollegiate athletics,” Donati said. “I look forward to working with my incredible team to collectively continue the momentum we have at TCU.”

Boschini spoke glowingly of Donati’s past work for TCU. 

“First and only choice just because I’ve watched him over the past five or six years, and I’ve seen him grow and develop the skills necessary to do the jobs,” Boschini said. “He’s a great people-person, he knows athletics, he’s a good fundraiser and friend-raiser.”

Donati said over the last two or three weeks that other Power Five schools contacted him about their athletic director vacancies, but he didn’t seriously consider any of them.

“It’d be really silly to want to look elsewhere,” Donati said. “The fact that I know the staff so well, the fact that I know the donors so well, it’s an easy fit — at least from my end. It’s something I was going to fight for.”

The hire of Donati also came with a stamp of approval from the coaches he now leads.

“They were grooming him to be an AD,” TCU men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon said. “It came a little bit quicker than maybe we thought, but it’s better than losing momentum. You have a guy in place that everybody looks at and respects and considers an athletic director.”

TCU baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle said he believes the commitment to his program will only continue to grow under Donati.

“That’s the great thing about Jeremiah is he’s more than capable and qualified,” Schlossnagle said. “He’s been here, and he’s seen from a college baseball standpoint what’s possible and how we’ve elevated our program.”

Even with Dixon, Schlossnagle, and TCU football head coach Gary Patterson all signed to long-term deals, Donati looks to improve his relationship with the Horned Frogs’ Big Three.

“I may technically be their boss, but I don’t see it that way,” Donati said. “I see my job is to serve them and if I do that then they’ll be successful and they’ll be happy.

Down to Business

“The first thing I’m going to do is listen to our coaches, student-athletes, staff, our donors, and we’re going to figure out how to keep providing resources to keep them successful,” Donati said. “Expectations have not and will not change for this athletic department, and those expectations are four things: Provide our student-athletes with a world-class experience, challenge them to be responsible citizens and leaders, prepare them to graduate, and give them everything necessary to win championships here, conference and national.”

The first action-item on his list is the newest football stadium renovation started recently under Del Conte.

“The top priority is to complete the east side expansion of Amon G. Carter Stadium because that project is absolutely critical for momentum, for our future, and I’m 100 percent committed to it,” Donati said. “It’s a project that goes beyond TCU football, and it’s a project that we need to get delivered on time. That’s going to send a loud message that we’re committed to football, committed to this conference, and it falls perfectly in line with the Chancellor’s goals.”

While Donati wants to continue those ideals, Boschini is also looking forward to how Donati will change things.

“I think Jeremiah is different than Chris in a lot of ways,” Boschini said. “I think Jeremiah is more process-oriented, and I think he’ll bring that flavor to the staff that we didn’t have before. Everyone brings a bit of their own flavor.”

Donati has already thought of one way he’ll break from the habits of his predecessor.

“I probably won’t be as avid of a tweeter, I used to tease him [Del Conte] mercilessly about that,” Donati said. “It remains to be seen, but it’s coming. I have a lot of purple ties, not as many as Chris but a lot.”

Donati also went out of his way to thank his predecessor.

“I want to thank Chris Del Conte,” Donati said. “He brought me to TCU and made me a Horned Frog. He believed in me, trusted me, and he’s an unbelievable friend to me.”

Del Conte also left one last thing for his protégé. Donati said that Del Conte gifted him all his purple ties at his press conference in Austin, but Chancellor Boschini wasn’t going to let that slide completely.

“Stand in line,” Boschini exclaimed.

Donati joked that he would pass them out after his press conference. While Donati showcased his sense of humor, he also concluded his introduction with focus.

“I’m eager to get started,” Donati said.