THE RECORD BREAKER

Foot­ball coach’s home dou­bles as a place to do TCU busi­ness

The Dallas Morning News - - Sportsday Style - BY CHUCK CARL­TON PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY LOUIS DELUCA

It takes long hours to shat­ter TCU’s record book. Gary Pat­ter­son did it close to home.

For Gary Pat­ter­son, it was love at first sight.

Just tak­ing a quick look at the Span­ish ranch home in Fort Worth in 2011 was enough for the TCU foot­ball coach.

“In fact, he hadn’t even seen the in­side,” his wife, Kelsey, said. “He saw the view, and it was sold.”

From the lush, tree-lined back­yard and now from nearly ev­ery room in the house, TCU’s Amon Carter Sta­dium is clearly vis­i­ble. So is the Fort Worth sky­line. The prox­im­ity to cam­pus also met one of Pat­ter­son’s most im­por­tant cri­te­ria. “That’s his rule,” Kelsey said. “It al­ways has to be one stop light from cam­pus, be­cause they work so much. It’s nuts.” The Pat­ter­sons have lived in the home on a quiet cul-de-sac for five years now. They bought it, their fifth home to­gether, in the spring of 2011 af­ter the Horned Frogs’ mile­stone 21-19 win over Wis­con­sin in the Rose Bowl, then

worked on the design, even­tu­ally mak­ing over al­most the en­tire in­te­rior. The square footage ex­panded from 7,600 to more than 10,000 by the time of their 2013 move-in. The house dou­bles as a home re­cruit­ing and game prepa­ra­tion base for the TCU coach, an area to host play­ers, re­cruits, fam­i­lies and fundrais­ers. It’s an oc­ca­sional refuge from all the pres­sures and dis­trac­tions that go with be­ing in a high-pres­sure, fish­bowl occupation. It’s large enough to ac­com­mo­date Pat­ter­son’s col­lec­tion of gui­tars, in­clud­ing one of his first. And it’s home — es­pe­cially the back­yard pool — to the Pat­ter­sons’ two res­cue dogs, Chloe and Daisy. “Af­ter the Rose Bowl, we were too tired to do any­thing for spring break in March. There were older houses here in the neigh­bor­hood. What we did was kind of shopped and found that it had been on the mar­ket for a long time. I saw all that,” Gary Pat­ter­son said, point­ing to the view, “and said, ‘What?’ ” From Gary Pat­ter­son’s stand­point, the cen­ter­piece is the home of­fice/mem­o­ra­bilia mu­seum/war room. The Pat­ter­sons took a cozy den and turned it into a 500-square foot ops cen­ter and re­cruit­ing show­case, pat­terned af­ter one they saw at Mack and Sally Brown’s house. Framed pic­tures and news­pa­per ar­ti­cles note stops in Pat­ter­son’s coach­ing ca­reer — such as Sonoma State in 1989 — as well as his­toric mo­ments from his 21 years at TCU, in­clud­ing 18 years as head coach. There’s the Rose Bowl, and the 2014 Peach Bowl win over Mis­sis­sippi, and the pro­gram-

build­ing win over Ok­la­homa in 2005 and the his­toric 2016 Alamo Bowl come­back against Ore­gon. A Swarovski crys­tal TCU foot­ball hel­met, a gift from Chan­cel­lor Vic­tor Bos­chini, sits in a tro­phy case along with Pat­ter­son masks courtesy of ESPN Col­lege GameDay. Two flat-screen TVs are mounted on op­po­site walls, so Pat­ter­son can watch TCU film on one while mon­i­tor­ing live games on the other. All the foot­ball gear vies for space with Pat­ter­son’s per­sonal pas­sion for music. More than 10 gui­tars are scat­tered through­out the of­fice, some mounted, some ly­ing on the floor. Pat­ter­son has worked out a sys­tem with some noted singers. “I trade hel­mets for gui­tars,” he said. Among those who have swapped: Blake Shel­ton, Brad Pais­ley, Toby Keith and LeAnn Rimes. There’s the small­ish electric gui­tar Pat­ter­son, 58, built in mid­dle school wood shop class. “That’s when I played in sev­enth grade when we started a band, Walk On Easy,” said Pat­ter­son, who grew up in the western Kansas town of Rozel (pop­u­la­tion: 156). “We took it from a race­horse.” Kelsey added to her hus­band’s col­lec­tion, find­ing a pris­tine Fender Tele­caster. He loved it but didn’t find time to play it un­til early July. “I wasn’t sure he liked the present,” she said. On the small desk sits a copy of Ryan Hol­i­day’s best-seller, Ego is the En­emy. “We all have to have the level of con­fi­dence to walk out in front of as many peo­ple as we do. … Every­body does that busi­ness dif­fer­ently,” Gary Pat­ter­son said. “That’s why I al­ways tell peo­ple, ‘Don’t lis­ten to the de­liv­ery, lis­ten to the mes­sage.’ ” At the same time, like most of his coach­ing brethren, Pat­ter­son is cau­tious about trade se­crets. He fully ex­pects the tour of his of­fice to be­come a neg­a­tive. “We’ll show this room, and then peo­ple will use that against us. … It’s like on­line we look at ev­ery­one’s game room,” Pat­ter­son said, not­ing Alabama’s re­cently un­veiled 25,000-square foot fuel cen­ter and smoothie bar.

At the Pat­ter­son home, form blends with func­tion with the house walking a fine line, very nice with­out be­ing in­tim­i­dat­ing. “You had to make it nice enough that you can help raise money and have events here,” Gary Pat­ter­son said, “but that a re­cruit would walk in and not feel un­com­fort­able. That’s kind of what we did.” Con­ces­sions are made. The chairs are over­sized and taller, built for mas­sive of­fen­sive tack­les. The hard­wood floors min­i­mize any­thing that gets spilled. “There is noth­ing white,” Kelsey Pat­ter­son said. “It’s all browns and tans.” TCU se­nior line­backer Ty Sum­mers quickly grasped the util­ity of Pat­ter­son’s house dur­ing a team gath­er­ing. “Ev­ery­thing has a rea­son. The way the house is de­signed so you can see the sta­dium per­fectly from most points. That’s how Coach is,” Sum­mers said. “It’s hav­ing a guy who un­der­stands minute de­tails and the im­por­tance of them. It’s a tes­ta­ment to why his de­fense has been so good the last 30 years. … “Re­cruit­ing is the big­gest thing. He says he doesn’t need a big house. But I think he likes it too.”

The Pat­ter­sons are the only hu­mans in the house, although they aren’t alone. There are the two golden retriev­ers, Chloe and Daisy, the third and fourth res­cue dogs the Pat­ter­sons have owned. Daisy, the younger of the two, looked on her way to a solid 40 time bar­rel­ing down a hall­way to greet guests. Kelsey Pat­ter­son grew up in a dog-own­ing fam­ily. Her hus­band, a bit of a neat freak, needed a nudge to bring dogs into the house. Now it’s a staple with the dogs get­ting a work­out retriev­ing toys from the back­yard pool. “The rule is two hands,” Gary Pat­ter­son said. “You can’t have more dogs than you can pet.” The Pat­ter­sons have also gone on about half a dozen photo sa­faris in Africa. A for­mer mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor for the Fort Worth Zoo, Kelsey’s pho­tos of wildlife, from ele­phants and chee­tahs, are fea­tured through­out the house. The trips to African game pre­serves served an­other pur­pose, too, rep­re­sent­ing en­forced down­time for the coach. “It sounds funny to say you go 20 hours so he can re­lax,” Kelsey Pat­ter­son said, “but the time dif­fer­ence is so off. He calls in the morn­ing, so it’s 5 in the af­ter­noon and the ad­min­is­tra­tion is get­ting ready to pack up, and then at night when we wrap up it’s 8 a.m. here. It’s a good time frame for him to check but not be con­sumed by work.”

Kelsey Pat­ter­son is a key part of the pro­gram, her hus­band said. At one time, she worked in the of­fice of for­mer Texas ath­letic di­rec­tor DeLoss Dodds. She also worked for the South­west Con­fer­ence in its final sea­son. “Kelsey prob­a­bly plays as big a

part of the re­cruit­ing as­pect,” Gary Pat­ter­son said. “Be­cause of her back­ground, she’s very in­volved in get­ting to know the stu­dent-ath­letes and par­ents.” She also gets ath­let­ics and ev­ery­thing that goes with be­ing a coach’s wife. She headed up a char­ity that saw coaches’ wives help­ing hur­ri­cane vic­tims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. “We joke that I say I will al­ways love you but I may not al­ways like you,” Kelsey Pat­ter­son said of her hus­band. “You have to have a sense of hu­mor about the job. That’s why the coaches and wives that are suc­cess­ful, they un­der­stand it’s a grind.” She re­calls her par­ents not­ing that mar­riage isn’t al­ways a 50-50 propo­si­tion. “I carry more of a load dur­ing the sea­son,” she said. The Pat­ter­sons have pride of own­er­ship in what they’ve built in Fort Worth, one rea­son they’ve stayed put in a tran­sient busi­ness. TCU has gone from a con­fer­ence no­mad to an es­tab­lished mem­ber of the Big 12 with 40 wins the last four sea­sons. “You couldn’t see a TCU flag or hat or T-shirt when we got here 21 years ago, not even in a five-block area,” Gary Pat­ter­son said. “So now you can see TCU stuff in New York, LA, Mi­ami. You touch ev­ery cor­ner, and you can find it. That’s one of the things that’s spe­cial, why we stayed. You ask any as­sis­tant who’s worked at TCU, and they’ll say it’s one of their top two places be­cause of how they got treated.”

TCU foot­ball coach Gary Pat­ter­son and his wife, Kelsey Pat­ter­son, didn't need much con­vinc­ing to make this 10,000-square-foot Span­ish-style ranch home their res­i­dence in 2011.

The chairs in Gary Pat­ter­son’s home of­fice/re­cruit­ing room are large enough to ac­com­mo­date the Horned Frogs’ hefty of­fen­sive line­men.

TOM FOX

Gary Pat­ter­son leads TCU onto the field at Fort Worth’s Amon G. Carter Sta­dium, where he has coached for 18 years.

Mem­o­ra­bilia, in­clud­ing (clock­wise from left) an in­spi­ra­tional book, a ce­ramic foot­ball hel­met and sports gear, dot Pat­ter­son’s home of­fice.

Pat­ter­son plays gui­tar in his home of­fice as other in­stru­ments, which the coach has got­ten in trade from well-known per­form­ers, hang on the walls.

Chloe, one of the Pat­ter­sons’ golden retriev­ers, greets the coach, while Kelsey Pat­ter­son gives a com­mand to the other dog, Daisy, in a hall­way.

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