TCU head coach Gary Patterson, center, has agreed to a new contract that will keep him with the Horned Frogs through the 2016 season.ASSOCIATED PRESS
FORT WORTH, Texas — Gary Patterson has always felt he has a better chance of competing for a national championship at TCU than at some other places with automatic BCS access.
With his No. 4 Horned Frogs set to play in a Bowl Championship Series game — and perhaps a national title, depending on this weekend’s games — it might be hard to argue with him. And with his name being mentioned for the Notre Dame job, Patterson agreed Wednesday to a new contract intended to keep him at TCU through 2016.
“Like all of us, you always like to prove people wrong. A lot of people thought that TCU, because of where we started 12 years ago, we couldn’t do this,” Patterson said. “We’ve achieved something that all those other people talk about because they’re part of a conference and yes, they have the access right now, a little bit quicker than we do. ... We’ve now jumped over a hurdle being able to get to a BCS game.”
Patterson has led TCU to five 11-win seasons the past seven years. TCU just completed its first undefeated regular season since 1938, when it won its only AP national championship.
“Like I’ve said many times, I don’t think people understand what kind of place TCU and Fort Worth is,” Patterson said. “This was my first head coaching job, but it also, now going into 12 years, it’s my home.”
TCU (12-0, 8-0 Mountain West) will find out Sunday which of the big-money BCS games it will play in. The Frogs are fourth in the BCS standings, the highest ever this late in the season for a team from a conference without an automatic bid.
“We don’t feel like our work is done,” Patterson said. “We feel like we have a mountain to climb, a championship to win.”
There is still a chance the Frogs could be the first BCS buster to play for the national championship if No. 3 Texas loses to Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game Saturday night and they stay ahead of Cincinnati in the final BCS standings. The other spot will be filled by No. 1 Florida or No. 2 Alabama, who face off in the SEC championship game.
Patterson has an 85-27 record in his ninth season at TCU. His contract had been through 2014, and the revised deal includes pay raises he and his assistant coaches. The private university doesn’t release financial details.
Patterson, 49, came to TCU as a defensive coordinator with coach Dennis Franchione after the 1997 season, when the Frogs were coming off a 1-10 season. He was promoted when Franchione left three years later for Alabama, though the school did a national search before making that move.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick says there are far more people being mentioned for the school’s head coaching job than there are candidates.
Swarbrick would not disclose how many people he has contacted about the job. He began reaching out to candidates Tuesday, and said he is consulting with a search firm.
He also said he’s contacted people who know the candidates he has identified. He also has talked with former coaches and a former athletic director of “national prominence” about the search.
Swarbrick spent part of Wednesday meeting with assistant coaches to hear their ambitions and try to help them. He also met with some players to get their perspective on the coaching staff.
Swarbrick hopes to have a decision Friday on whether Notre Dame (6-6) will go to a bowl.