Now that the University of Auburn has found their new coach, head football coach Gary Patterson will lead his team onto the field for the 100th time in his career when the No. 11 Horned Frogs take on the No. 9 Boise State Broncos in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl at 7 p.m. Dec. 23.
Patterson’s record as head coach at TCU stands at 72-27. He needs two more wins to tie Abe Martin as the second winningest coach in Horned Frog football history.
Although the 100th game milestone speaks volumes about the success of the football program at TCU, Patterson said he is treating the upcoming bowl game as if it were like any other.
“What I’m trying to do is get us to 11 ball games, 11 wins,” Patterson said after practice Wednesday.
The coach said the final game of the season is especially important to the team’s seniors who have a chance to become the winningest team in school history with 41 wins in four years. Another win would also give the Horned Frogs a chance to end up in the top 10 in the BCS rankings, Patterson said.
Patterson also said the 100-game marker is proof of his devotion to TCU.
“Well hopefully it means that TCU knows that I’ve been loyal,” Patterson said. “I love Fort Worth, and I like TCU and I had an opportunity to be a part of something that I’ve seen grow and it’s special.”
Patterson said a lot has been accomplished in his 11 years at TCU.
Having played in 99 games so far, Patterson said the 2006 game against Texas Tech University, the win in Norman against the University of Oklahoma in 2005, this year’s win against Brigham Young University then-No. 9 at the time and the 1998 Sun Bowl victory against the University of Southern California when he was defensive coordinator are some games that stick out in his mind more than others.
“We’re trying to build,” Patterson said. “You want to learn from history.”
Patterson got his start at TCU when he was hired as defensive coordinator in 1998. When former head coach Dennis Franchione left to become the coach at the University of Alabama in December 2000, Patterson was named head coach at TCU. His first game as coach came in that same month in the Mobile Alabama Bowl, a game the Horned Frogs lost to the University of Southern Mississippi 28-21.
Patterson has since led the Frogs to a Conference USA championship in 2002 and a Mountain West Conference championship in 2005. He received the Coach of the Year awards in each conference during those same years.
During his eight-year tenure his teams have posted five 10-win seasons. Previous coaches at TCU have only managed to put up as many as two 10-win seasons. Teams under his guidance have appeared in seven bowl games, winning four, not including this month’s Poinsettia Bowl.