The University of Arkansas fired head football coach Bobby Petrino Tuesday and, as usual when high-profile coaching positions open up, TCU’s Gary Patterson surfaced as a potential candidate to take the Razorbacks’ job.
There has been no indication Arkansas has expressed interest in Patterson, or vice versa, but ESPN.com, The Memphis Commercial-Appeal and several other publications have all had Patterson on their short lists of possible Petrino replacements.
The list of reasons why Arkansas, or any other school, would want Patterson as their head coach is a long one, but so is the list of reasons why Patterson wouldn’t go. Here’s five big ones:
5) Passing Dutch
Patterson needs just one victory to pass Dutch Meyer as the Frogs’ all-time win leader with 110. The number itself is impressive enough — the legacy that goes along with it is even better. If it came down to it, would a chance to break Meyer’s record sway Patterson to stay? Probably not, but it is something to keep in mind and an indicator as to how deeply entrenched Patterson is in the program’s history.
4) New house
Patterson’s currently building a new house not too far away from campus. It will not be finished for a while, but it is unlikely Patterson would be willing to up and move with a new home under construction. Plus, Patterson’s wife, Kelsey, is a Fort Worth native. It could be neither that nor his new house are deciding factors in leaving or staying, but they both show how familiar and close Patterson is with the Fort Worth community.
3) SEC defenses
The trademark of Patterson’s teams has always been their defense. That is what made TCU stand out as a mid-major, and that’s what could make them stand out in the pass-heavy Big 12. Patterson wouldn’t have the luxury at Arkansas, who plays in the defense-dominated SEC. That is not to say he would not be up for the challenge, but the gap between Patterson’s defense and that of his opponents would shrink considerably in the SEC.
2) Amon G. Carter Stadium
Patterson and the Frogs are set to move into a sparkling new stadium, essentially “The House That Gary Built/Renovated,” through more than a decade of winning and creating a brand in Fort Worth. On top of that, TCU has already built a state-of-the-art indoor facility, a brand new weight room and is more than halfway done with a complete makeover of its locker room. All of those renovations are a product of the program Patterson has built over the years. The football facilities have become a living, constantly-evolving symbol of Patterson’s legacy at the school. Leaving those would be tough.
1) Big 12
During Patterson’s time at TCU, the football program has bounced from conference to conference, starting in the WAC, then moving to Conference-USA, then the Mountain West, then the Big East temporarily before finally settling in the Big 12, where most of its Southwest Conference counterparts ended up when the conference split in the mid-90s. The Big 12 is an endpoint to the Frogs’ conference odyssey, and I think Patterson realizes that. Patterson, like most involved in TCU athletics, is ready for something steady, challenging and geographically convenient. The Big 12 is all three. That is not to say the SEC isn’t, but leaving for a new conference, even one like the SEC, would simply be more of the same unsteadiness Patterson has gone through the past 10 years.
Ryan Osborne is an associate editor for TCU 360.