Around the Horned with Brian Estridge
April 10, 2006
The night of April 9, 2005, was supposed to be a celebration - a chance to close the book on the 2004 TCU football season and pass the torch to the 2005 Horned Frogs at the annual TCU football banquet. It turned out not to be. That night, one member of the TCU family tragically lost her husband. Gisele Kates, TCU football's administrative assistant, and more importantly, the unofficial team mom, experienced the worst. Thankfully, she wasn't alone. Assistant coaches and their families, players, and friends of the program were there to help her through. There was also another person there for her in a big way.
We see the gruff exterior on game day, the in-your-face motivational tactics that have produced three 10-win seasons in four years. We know the competitive juices that course his veins. But do we all know the other side of Gary Patterson? Have we seen him with his kids? Have we witnessed him prior to games with the hundreds of Bleacher Creatures who line up to run out with the team? Do we know about his charitable foundation established to help single moms with expenses for their children? And, most importantly, do we know that he takes everything he says to heart?
On the heels of a recent contract extension and pay raise, Gary Patterson displayed that he is a man of his word. On the night of April 9, 2005, as he passed the torch to last year's group that ultimately won the Mountain West Conference and finished in the nation's top 10, he asked all of us to make our commitment to TCU football personal. Every step along the way, he said, step up for your co-workers, your teammates and your fans. As a program, lift each other up and in doing so, experience the blessings as a team, a university, and a community.
Gisele Kates can never replace her loss. Gary Patterson took that personally and stepped up by paying off her mortgage. It is one less thing for Gisele to worry about as she moves on in her life. That's a man standing behind his words, a side of the man that we didn't know, a side that he might be upset with me for sharing. Coach, I am sorry. I just thought the Frog faithful would want to know that their football program is being run by a man who isn't just talk, a man that means what he says.