STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU coach Gary Patterson has a new contract after leading the Horned Frogs to a Big 12 title in only their third season in a power-five conference.
Athletic director Chris Del Conte acknowledged Tuesday that a new deal was in place for Patterson that also takes care of his assistant coaches at the private school. Del Conte wouldn’t give specific details.
Patterson was already among the Big 12’s highest-paid coaches, with a salary of about $4 million this season.
Del Conte would only say that Patterson is under contract “through the end of the decade” and that the coach is “well taken care of” financially. The AD said the agreement was reached Dec. 7, the day after the regular-season finale when the Frogs clinched a share of the Big 12 title with defending champion Baylor.
“We don’t wait around, you don’t let grass grow between your toes when you have the very best in America,” Del Conte said. “So we settled up … shook hands and crossed the T’s and dotted the I’s and we’re off to the next subject.”
Patterson is TCU’s winningest coach with 131-45 record in 14 seasons, after three seasons as defensive coordinator under former coach Dennis Franchione. The Horned Frogs (11-1) play Mississippi (9-3) in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31.
“I’m always glad to have 20 bucks to buy soft drinks because that’s about all the time I have to do what I’ve got to do,” Patterson said Tuesday as the Frogs officially accepted their bowl bid. “I’m in a little bit different situation, more like a Frank Beamer. … At some point in time you become more than the coach with the university, You’re the ambassador for it. You don’t just make decisions to win football games, you make decisions to make the university better, especially at a small, private school because you can have an effect.”
Only three FBS head coaches have been at their schools longer than Patterson — Beamer at Virginia Tech, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz. Larry Blakeney just retired after 24 seasons at Troy.
The Horned Frogs were No. 3 in the College Football Playoff rankings going into their finale, but dropped to sixth and were left out of the first four-team playoff despite a 55-3 win over last-place Iowa State.
This will be TCU’s 12th bowl game in Patterson’s 14th seasons. Before joining the Big 12, the Frogs were two-time BCS busters, including a 13-0 season as the Mountain West champion in 2010 when they won the Rose Bowl and were No. 2 in the final AP poll.
Patterson has been named the winner of several coach of the year awards this month, and last week was voted as the AP Big 12 coach of the year.
“He’s been committed to TCU,” Del Conte said. “What you need to know is that when you have a coach of his magnitude that you can’t take it for granted.”