What a year! TCU sports programs excelled in 2022-23

TCU's Cole Fontenelle. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

The 2022-23 school year was a big one for TCU, with the Fort Worth university celebrating its 150th anniversary, the football team getting within one win of a national championship, and the baseball Horned Frogs going to the College World Series for the first time since 2017.

All that made “TCU” a common sight in local and national news headlines but it’s only part of the story. Almost unnoticed in the glare of the purple spotlight was a spectacular overall performance for TCU athletics.

There were no national champions but several programs came close: six TCU teams reached either the title contest or the final four in their respective sports.

That’s almost a third of the university’s 21 sports programs (soon to be 22 when triathlon begins in the fall). Not bad for a school that is a fraction of the size of its powerhouse neighbors in Austin and College Station.

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It all started, of course, with arguably the most memorable football season in school history. Sure, TCU won a national championship in 1935 and again in 1938 but it shows no disrespect for those accomplishments to note that it’s hard to imagine a bigger buzz around Frog football than we saw this past season.

The season ended, sad to say, with a 65-7 loss to Georgia in the national championship game. By then, however, the Horned Frogs had become the darlings of the college football world under first-year coach Sonny Dykes. The excitement the Frogs brought to fans and faithful far outweighed the disappointment of that Monday night beatdown in Los Angeles.

And with all due respect to Kansas State, which upset TCU in the Big 12 championship game, the Horned Frogs were the Big 12’s best team  in 2022. When you power through the regular conference schedule undefeated (9-0), you’re the champ.

Like the football team, the baseball team caught us by surprise. Sitting at 23-20 late in the regular season with an NCAA Tournament berth apparently slipping away, the Horned Frogs suddenly caught fire.

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TCU reeled off wins in 21 of their next 25 games and reached the CWS for the sixth time in their history.

Once there, the Horned Frogs were just two ninth-inning letdowns away from playing for a national championship.

While the Frogs fell short of the finals in Omaha, TCU’s rifle team reached the championship round in their postseason tournament. The shooters notched their third straight runner-up finish – their fifth overall.

The TCU men’s tennis team enjoyed the best season in its 49-year history, reaching the NCAA semifinals.

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The beach volleyball squad advanced to the semifinals for the first time in that sport’s history, and the equestrian team was also a national semifinalist.

Women’s tennis made its own history, capturing the championship of the first-ever National Invitation Tournament.

Men’s basketball threw a scare into perennial power Gonzaga before bowing out in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Women’s soccer advanced to the third round of the NCAA Tournament and volleyball made a second-round appearance.

Not to be left out, other sports were also well-represented in the postseason, including men’s golf (NCAA regionals) and women’s golf (NCAA championships third round).

All in all, there is a culture of winning on the TCU campus that continues to grow. From the major sports to all the others, success is breeding more success.

Thanks for a great sports year, TCU. What do you say we do it again sometime soon?

Rick Mauch writes regularly for the Fort Worth Business Press, covering a wide array of topics including sports, business and entertainment.