Del Conte: We have something to sell at TCU

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    Daniel-Meyer Coliseum can’t stop getting talked about.

    Squeezed between a soon-to-be new football stadium and a recently-built weight room, the aging DMC has become a target of criticism among Frog fans.

    This week, the 51-year-old arena took a portion of the blame — from fans, students and media — when men’s basketball head coach Jim Christian left TCU for the job at Ohio University.

    Christian’s departure could have had a lot to do with the DMC, or it could have had nothing to do with it all, but the question still remains: How do you hire a big-time coach with small-time facilities?

    TCU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Chris Del Conte doesn’t think that matters as much as some fans might think.

    “In reality, it’s not the facilities (that impress a coach), it’s the institution,” Del Conte said Thursday while addressing the university Faculty Senate about the football season ticket selection process. “You walk a coach around this campus and they see how beautiful it is, they see the investment that is made. That’s the best thing about it.”

    Del Conte acknowledged the school’s lack of state-of-the-art basketball facilities, but he also stressed what else the university has to offer. Reminding prospective coaches of vast amount positives and pitching TCU as a whole will be a goal of the search, Del Conte said.

    “It’s been an exhausting process,” Del Conte said. “But we have something truly to sell at Texas Christian University.”

    But to whom?

    Several names have surfaced as potential hires, the biggest being TCU alum Jamie Dixon, who’s previously earned national coach of the year honors at Pittsburgh and guided the Panthers to seven straight NCAA tournament appearances from 2004-11, including two No. 1 seeds.

    Del Conte didn’t delve into specifics Thursday, but he did say the candidate pool is “phenomenal.”

    Still, Dixon is likely out of reach.

    According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Christian made $590,000 a year at TCU. That’s well below Dixon’s salary, which according to the Associate Press, is $1.7 million.

    That means TCU would not only have to persuade Dixon to leave a Big East and soon-to-be ACC powerhouse for a weaker program, but also shell out the cash. Loads of it, giving Dixon a salary nearing $2 million range.

    Giving a coach that amount of money — whether it’s Dixon or someone else — isn’t something TCU is ready to do, Del Conte said.

    “There’s coaches that say, ‘Hey, I want to come in and make a crazy amount of money,’” Del Conte said. “We’re just not going to do that. We have to be mindful of who we are.”

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    TCU 360 is an official, student-produced product of the School of Journalism at Texas Christian University.