Eric Hyman was TCU’s athletic director from 1998 to 2005. Hyman played an important role in laying the foundation for TCU’s eventual transition to the Big 12 Conference under current athletic director Chris Del Conte. Hyman served as the athletic director when TCU baseball hired Jim Schlossnagle and when Gary Patterson was promoted to head football coach. Hyman has also served as an athletic director at the University of South Carolina and is currently serving as the athletic director at Texas A&M University.
Schlossnagle and Patterson:
Hyman hired Schlossnagle on July 9, 2003. After leading TCU to the College World Series for the first time and recording over 500 wins, Schlossnagle is one of the winningest coaches in TCU history.
Hyman said he looked for a few key traits when as he considered hiring Schlossnagle.
“We always set out to look for three things: work ethic, integrity and character,” Hyman said. “Jim had that.”
Hyman said he had heard of Schlossnagle’s success as an associate head coach at Tulane University. Schlossnagle then took the head coaching job at UNLV, where he won a Mountain West conference championship in his second year as head coach.
“I knew then we had a winner,” Hyman said.
Another decision he made that had a lasting impact came in December of 2000 when Gary Patterson was promoted to head coach.
Since that promotion, TCU has won seven conference championships. TCU has appeared in two BCS bowls, the Rose Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl, and won a New Year’s Six bowl game —the 2014 Peach Bowl.
Hyman said Patterson is not only a great football coach, but like Schlossnagle, he has outstanding character.
“Gary is a genius,” Hyman said. “He is a very bright, good person.”
The Challenges of Each School:
With experience at several universities, Hyman said he has learned that each school presents a different challenge.
“Every place has a different set of problems,” he said. “What does each university want?”
Hyman said some schools, like South Carolina, have goals to be in the top-25, while others, like Texas A&M, want to be a top-10 program.
In a time in which TCU was hoping to move up the proverbial conference totem pole, Hyman said the objective was clear.
“We wanted to improve our product where other conferences wanted it,” he said. “It was a heck of a challenge.”
Hyman said the Horned Frogs managed to be persistent enough to lay the foundation for an eventual promotion.
“TCU continued to be focused on the prize,” Hyman said.
Hyman said TCU’s commitment and will to continue was vital in their eventual leap to the Big 12 Conference.
“Sometimes it splits between the cracks,” he said. “You have to work hard and make luck a factor.”
Hyman said that luck came in the form of several departures from the Big 12 Conference, like that of Missouri, Nebraska and Texas A&M.
Hyman On College Baseball and Lupton Stadium:
Hyman said he has enjoyed his time at Lupton Stadium as TCU hosts Texas A&M for super regional play. Lupton Stadium’s construction was part of a three-part plan that Hyman instituted in 1998.
“I think it’s great for college baseball,” Hyman said. “I think it is on the upswing.”
When asked if he will be attending game three of the super regional between his former school and current, Hyman laughed.
“Did the sun come up this morning?”