FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – TCU faithful are sharing their feelings one day after the university announced the Horned Frogs head football coach for more than two decades was gone.
“When I heard the news, I didn’t really believe it,” said Charles Stuart, a sophomore at TCU.
Patterson’s sudden departure sent shock waves across campus.
“He’s been here for a really long time and started our winning streak,” said freshman Jerilyn White.
During his tenure, Patterson turned TCU into a nationally-recognized program in football.
He led the team to 17 bowl appearances.
“Completely revamping and reviving this program,” Stuart said. “Absolutely changing the culture here, for taking the team and really elevating it to another level.”
Patterson wasn’t just known for the work he did on the football field.
“They’re a big part of putting Fort Worth on the map and making it important, but I just really care because they have big hearts and they care about this community,” said former Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price.
During her time as mayor, Price saw firsthand the work the couple did through the Gary Patterson Foundation, from providing Thanksgiving meals to families in need to raising money for programs at Fort Worth schools.
She says putting a national spotlight on TCU, and in turn Fort Worth, also helped recruit new businesses and residents.
“A whole lot of that is TCU football,” Price said. “That draw is huge.”
The university’s next head football coach has big shoes to fill and high hopes to achieve, after Saturday marked TCU’s fifth loss in six games.
“Someone who leads with true passion and grit and can get us back on track,” said Haley Wylie, a senior at TCU.
Jerry Kill, who’s been on Patterson’s staff in an off-field role, will be in the interim head coach for the remainder of the season.
The Horned Frogs host 13th-ranked Baylor on Saturday.