The powers-that-be at TCU are preparing for the departure of football coach Gary Patterson, sources close to the program tell CUTigers.com, with much of the intrigue for now focusing on Clemson as a suitor.
"Gary's probably gone,'' says one prominent member of the TCU family. "He's been on the short list of so many schools. It (a change) is probably coming.''
Clemson, though, appears to top the list of potential employers – even thought two Fort Worth-based sources tell us that they "don't know'' if Clemson AD Terry Don Phillips attended this weekend's Air Force-at-TCU game. Phillips was rumored to be planning a visit in order to get a look at both Patterson and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun. But certainly in the case of at least one of our sources, he "didn't know'' if Phillips was in attendance at Amon G. Carter Stadium even though he may not have been hanging out in the press box or he was deep, deep undercover.
As for other suitors: Kansas State had pursued Patterson, but he spurned his alma mater, leaving K-State to turn back the clock and hire former boss Bill Snyder. Consider this educated speculation, but we hear from very reliable voices that Tennessee is going in another direction as the successor to Phil Fulmer, in other words, not Patterson.
No K-State. … maybe no Tennessee. … that leaves Patterson to Clemson, logical on most every level – yet none of it due to Patterson's particular dissatisfaction with the Fort Worth school.
Those close to Patterson insist that over the course of his 11 years with TCU, he's established that he is not money-driven. He's demonstrated great loyalty to TCU, won 40 games over the course of four years, and is now considered by many to be one of the top 10 defensive coaches in the country.
On the other hand, Patterson is said to be Mike Leach-like in interviews; an unusual personality, with some rough edges and some eccentricities. His rather vanilla offense might not play as well in the ACC as it does in the Mountain West. His recruiting is very much Texas-based, which could work for or against him if he moves out of the region. And he is scheduled for a meeting today with TCU athletic director Danny Morrison, a meeting that will likely do much to determine his fate.
Phillips is certainly aware of all those plusses and minutes; in his time at Oklahoma State, he was given an up-close-and-regional look at Patterson. We should point out, too, that Phillips has the same sort of first-hand knowledge of Oklahoma assistant head coach Brett Venables, who it could be argued is a more "modern-style'' coach than Patterson.
For now, Patterson is saying all the right things, as he always has (even when he privately believed he didn't get proper consideration a few years ago for the Arkansas job eventually given to Bobby Petrino, he kept a lid on it.)
"It's very flattering," Patterson told the media this weekend, speaking on the subject of being a candidate for other jobs. "But the bottom line is, every time you have a great season with great players, people come calling. They always have. 11 years now and I'm still here.''
TCU Preparing for Life Without Patterson
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