There is a lot of Paul “Bear” Bryant in Gary Patterson.
I grew up in Alabama pulling for the Crimson Tide, and I have been a rabid TCU fan since my daughters played basketball for the Frogs a decade ago.
Since I became a TCU fan I have respected all three of their head coaches. In the South, Pat Sullivan will forever be a legend as a player and as a man. And although I didn’t appreciate the manner in which Dennis Franchione walked away from TCU or Alabama, I still believe he is a very good coach who deserves to be on the sideline for some university on crisp afternoons in the fall.
As for Gary Patterson, he has brought TCU to a level of success in a way that few coaches have ever matched. And he has done it in a way greatly reminiscent of that legend who walked the sidelines in Tuscaloosa for so many years.
In 1966, Alabama was the undefeated, two-time defending national champion, yet had a third title stolen from it and given to a team that settled for a tie in its last game rather than going for the win. Coach Bryant never stooped to whining to the media about this, and this is the same strength of character that Coach Patterson displays.
Like Coach Bryant, Coach Patterson demands, in no uncertain terms, a certain attitude and level of effort from his players. The players recognize this, they respect it and they respond as champions.
Even in all his unparalleled success, there was always a humility about Coach Bryant that set him apart from other great coaches like Woody Hayes and Ara Parseghian. I see that same quality in Gary Patterson, and I hope he never loses it.
The history of sports in America singles out Paul Bryant above others, as a man who knew how to motivate his players, take the measure of his opponents and win football games. It goes without saying that in this regard, Coach Gary Patterson is following in the footsteps of the great “Bear.” And in addition, Coach Patterson and his staff are without peers in their ability to evaluate talent and put a young man in the right position to reach his full potential as a TCU Horned Frog.
All I can say to the man is: Don’t ever leave, brother. You will never find a city better than Fort Worth. You will never find a school better than TCU. And you will never find a fan base that appreciates you more than THE PURPLE. God bless you.
Mike Sutton, Lewisville