In the September issue, executive editor Skip Hollandsworth profiles little-known TCU head coach Gary Patterson, who led the Horned Frogs to a surprising number two national ranking last season after a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin. Here, we ask Hollandsworth about his impressions of Patterson and the impact he’s had on college football.
You admitted in your story that you attended TCU. Was it hard for you to be objective writing about the success of your alma mater’s football team?
Not in the least. As I also admitted in the story, when I covered the TCU football team for the school’s newspaper, The Daily Skiff, I found the cheerleaders far more interesting than the games themselves. In the story, I mentioned the cheerleader Jan Tucker, who is now on the school’s board of trustees. I didn’t have space to mention another cheerleader named Elizabeth Strother. During one game in late autumn, she ran onto the field during a timeout to do a cheer, and I watched, barely able to breathe, as the last of the late afternoon sun caught her blonde hair and smiling face, illuminating her like perfectly placed museum lights illuminate a painting.
Thirty-two years later, I can’t remember a single Frogs’ game during my college days. But I can still remember that moment when Elizabeth came across the field.
Still, as the years passed, you had to be proud of the resurgence of the Frogs’ football program?
Okay, in all honesty, I just didn’t really notice. I’m not exactly a Frog fanatic. I haven’t been to a TCU football game in maybe fifteen years. Nor did I pay any attention to Gary Patterson or what he was doing with the program. Yes, I did notice how the Frogs were moving up in the national rankings, but I thought, “Oh, for God’s sakes, they’re playing no-name teams from Utah.” I didn’t even watch the Frogs when they were occasionally featured on ESPN. In essence, I was like the typical sports fan who