Around the Horned With Brian Estridge
March 5, 2003
On the men's basketball recent road trip to Memphis, Mother Nature played havoc with our travel plans. The winter storm that shutdown much of the Metroplex was nestled between Memphis and Fort Worth, forcing the men's basketball team to delay its departure for Fort Worth by some 19 hours. Now I don't know what other college basketball program around the country would have done, but a Neil Dougherty-run program did the right thing. Once it was determined that we were going to be delayed, his staff quickly set up a tour of the Civil Rights Museum, coordinated with the airport to provide a study hall area and worked with each student-athlete to alert their professors of the delay. The visit to the Civil Rights Museum was the most important move of the day. The museum engulfs the site of the Lorraine Motel (site of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.) and is extremely educational and emotional. I, for one, am glad that Coach Dougherty elected to take his team to the museum. They may have learned more from that visit than anything they could have gotten out of a class that day!
Kudos to Coach Jeff Mittie and his staff this year. His team never gelled like he would have liked, and he'll even admit that it wasn't pretty at times, but they did find a way to win five of their last six en route to the C-USA Tourney. From adjusting his substitution pattern to the old North Carolina blue and white method, to working through some frustrating guard play at times, Coach Mittie may have done his best coaching job this year. And he became the all time winningest coach in TCU women's basketball history along the way.
If it was another coach, you'd want to put your arm around them and say go get 'em next time. But that's not something you do with Head Track Coach Monte Stratton. His men's team suffered a tough defeat at the C-USA Indoor Championships in Houston last week. This frustration will just inspire Coach Stratton and his team to work that much harder for the NCAA event coming up next week. A word to those other teams in attendance - you better watch out, the Flyin' Frogs are due! And look out for the TCU women in the coming years. They posted a third place finish at the indoor meet, their highest finish ever, and have a strong recruiting class to go with a bunch of returning talent, which bodes well for the future.
Gary Patterson has cranked up his third spring practice at TCU with confidence among players and coaches at an all-time high. Early on one of the biggest challenges is going to be finding playmakers to replace the likes of LaTarence Dunbar, Jason Goss, LaMarcus McDonald and Adrian Madise, just to mention a few. It's a chance to grow some of the young pups up. If you make it out to practice, you'll see some of the best play along the defensive line, with some questions to be answered coming in the defensive backfield. And by the way, you'll have no excuse for not seeing the Frogs play this fall, with virtually all of the road games either within driving distance or on TV, in addition to the home games that I know I can count on you being at.
Finally, a couple of personal thoughts. Congratulations to ESPN and TCU account executive Willie McHargue and his wife, Judy, on the recent birth of their daughter, Lucy. Word is mom and daughter are doing great. Dad on the other hand could use a haircut.
And my thoughts and prayers go out to Coach Jim "Killer" Killingsworth following the death of his wife last week. I have had the pleasure of getting to know the original Coach K over the last several years and he is a class act who thought the world of Margaret. Killer, your TCU family is here when you need us.
From the streets and avenues of North Texas to the information superhighway, I'm Brian Estridge and we'll see you on the radio.