New assistant director of football operations driven by love for game

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    TCU's new assistant director of football operations says she still remembers the words of wisdom Auburn assistant coach Trooper Taylor told her. 

    Dominique Neville, a native of Huntsville, Alabama, and alumna of Auburn University, says she uses the quote to motivate her every day in her new profession at TCU.

    “Recruiting is like shaving," Neville said, quoting Taylor. "If you don’t do it every day, it shows.”

    Neville was hired to the football operations staff last month as the new assistant director of football operations – a job that she described as “80 percent recruiting and 20 percent operations.”

    In her new role, she said she is expected to help coordinate team travel as well as coordinate mail-outs and campus visits for potential recruits.

    Neville's main priority has been on the administrative side of recruiting, particularly creating a recruiting database for the football program. In the upcoming season, she will also be in charge of roster management and coordinating team meetings.

    Neville, a former accountant, said she's loved her job at TCU.

    “It’s fun, and it doesn’t feel like work,” Neville said. “I get to talk about football and be involved with football every minute of the day.”

    It was her love for football and sports that drove Neville to where she is today – a love that started in childhood, as her father would watch college games every Saturday. Instead of watching cartoons, Neville would join her father and learn the game by asking him questions.

    She took that love for football with her to Auburn University, where she earned degrees in business administration and accounting. While there, she worked for Auburn’s football program, serving as president of the Tigerettes and Tiger Hosts, the school’s on-campus recruitment organization. 

    Neville says those organizations were where she got the majority of her football recruiting experience.

    “Football recruiting is like a brown bag,” she said. “It would involve hosting potential recruits on campus. It might be a kid com[ing] in from Birmingham, Alabama. We have him for the day, and we show him around the campus, athletic facilities, getting to meet his future academic advisers.”

    While serving as president, the organization was partially responsible for bringing in the school’s highly regarded 2011 recruiting class, which was was ranked No. 3 by ESPN.com and No. 2 by Scout.com. 

    After graduation, she fulfilled her accounting degree plan working as a staff accountant at the Atlanta firm of Ernst & Young. Although she thought accounting was fine, she felt it wasn't her passion.

    “I knew I wanted to be in sports,” she said. “But I never really knew exactly [where] I would end up. That’s why I majored in accounting, so I could get back into sports. I was just going to be on the business side.”

    Since coming to TCU, Neville has shifted from showing recruits Toomer’s Corner to showing off the growing reputation of TCU and its coaching staff. She's also developed a relationship with the coaching staff, who Neville refers to as "ten uncles."

    “They definitely made me feel very comfortable,” she said. “Every single staff meeting that we have, you know, I’m getting to express how I feel about [things] – ‘Maybe we should keep it this way,’ or ‘Let’s keep it that way.’”

    Neville said it helped that one of TCU’s current members of the coaching staff, wide receivers coach Curtis Luper, was a former coach at Auburn and worked with Neville during her time at the university.

    Neville, who is the only female on the football operations staff, said her gender has not reflected on her negatively. In fact, it has merely been a part of a good experience as a member of TCU football.

    She said she feels like a valued member of the staff and that the coaching staff, including Patterson, values her opinion.

    “He asked me that [the other day]. ‘What’s going on with recruiting? How can we get better?’” she said. “It has been truly great.”