TCU Wraps Up Successful 2002-03 Campaign
June 27, 2003
Conference USA championships in football, women's basketball, men's golf and men's outdoor track & field highlighted the 2002-03 campaign for the TCU Horned Frogs. Those successes, along with strong performances from several other sports, including men's tennis and women's golf, helped propel the Frogs to a 64th place finish in the final NACDA Directors' Cup Division I standings.
TCU totaled 277.75 points in the Directors' Cup standings to rank first among all Conference USA schools. Tulane was second among the C-USA finishers with 205.5 points, placing 77th overall. Cincinnati (T110th), Marquette (T113th), South Florida (T113th) and Houston (115th) were next among Conference USA affiliates. Stanford University continued its run by winning its ninth consecutive award as the best overall collegiate athletics program in the country, which is presented annually by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. A total of 318 colleges and universities were eligible for the Division I competition.
For the second straight year, TCU made the most NCAA appearances among Conference USA schools with eight, followed by Cincinnati and Tulane with six each. Charlotte and Marquette were the only schools to win multiple regular season championships, with both earning a pair of titles. In Conference USA tournament play, South Florida and TCU tied for the most titles with three apiece.
TCU football finished its season with a 10-2 mark, a Conference USA championship, the AXA Liberty Bowl title and ranked among the nation's top 25 teams. The Horned Frogs featured the nation's top-ranked defense for the second time in four years. TCU appeared in its fifth straight bowl game, one of only 18 schools in the country that owns that current distinction. Individually, linebacker LaMarcus McDonald was named second-team all-America and the Conference USA Player of the Year, kicker Nick Browne was on both the all-America and academic all-America lists, tailback Lonta Hobbs was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year and Gary Patterson was selected as the league's Coach of the Year. Wide receivers Adrian Madise and LaTarence Dunbar were selected in the NFL Draft, while six other Horned Frog seniors earned tryouts with NFL squads. In addition, TCU was one of just 32 institutions across the country recognized for graduating 70 percent or more of its football players who entered the school as the freshman class of 1997-98.
In other fall sports, Alayne Thompson was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year and earned all-region honors, leading a young group of talented women distance runners in cross country. Jackson Langat earned all-conference accolades to pace the male harriers.
The volleyball program, under first-year head coach Prentice Lewis, showed solid improvement and earned a spot in the Conference USA post-season tournament. Dominika Szabo earned all-conference accolades and Stephanie Watson was tabbed as a third-team academic all-district selection. The Frogs look forward to opening their new facility for the 2003 season.
The soccer programs battled through a rash of injuries and a tough slate to remain competitive on the field despite losing records.
TCU women's basketball highlighted the winter sports scene in Fort Worth. The Lady Frogs grabbed the Conference USA Tournament Championship, posted its third straight 20-win season, made its third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and for the third consecutive year, reached the round of 32 before falling to eventual national champion UConn. Sandora Irvin was named the Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year, while Jeff Mittie became the winningest coach in TCU women's basketball history.
Under first-year head coach Neil Dougherty, the TCU men's basketball squad fought through some growing pains and a tough schedule to show Frog fans a glimpse of what the future will look like in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. Senior standouts Junior Blount and Bingo Merriex each went over the 1,000 point mark for their careers.
The Flyin' Frogs turned in a solid performance during the indoor track season. The men's 4x400 meter relay quartet took the silver medal at the NCAA Championships, while sprinter Michael Frater and 800-meter specialist Jackson Langat, who was the C-USA Indoor Male Track Athlete of the Year, earned all-America recognition. The TCU women's indoor track squad posted its highest conference finish in school history.
TCU women's swimming recorded its best record ever under veteran coach Richard Sybesma. Erin Irons and Aimee Moreau both won a pair of individual titles to help the Frogs to a third-place finish at the Conference USA Championships. On the men's side, TCU captured the Conference USA Invitational Meet for the second straight year. Craig Chapman paced the Frogs' victory by sweeping the backstroke titles at the meet. After not hosting a meet for the entire season, the TCU swimmers are anxious to return home to the newly renovated rec center pool this year.
TCU rifle swept both the individual and team titles at the sectional meet. Celeste Green earned honorable mention all-America honors to pace the Frogs' top unit. The Frogs traditionally are strong in their spring sports and 2003 proved to be no exception to that rule.
The TCU men's and women's tennis programs both took runner-up finishes at the conference tournament. The men earned another trip to the NCAA Tournament, posting a first round win before falling in the round of 32. Three players on each squad earned all-conference recognition.
TCU men's golf was ranked among the nation's top 10 teams throughout the entire season. The Frogs captured the Conference USA championships and advanced to the NCAA Regional meet. Bill Montigel was named the conference Coach of the Year, while Adam Rubinson, the C-USA men's Golfer of the Year, and David Schultz garnered all-America recognition. Colby Beckstrom was selected as the league's Freshman of the Year. The women's golf squad also earned a spot in the NCAA Regional meet after missing the conference title by one stroke. D'Rae Ward was the conference medalist, while Brooke Tull was honored as the Conference USA women's Golfer of the Year.
TCU baseball opened play in the long-awaited Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field and in doing so, took only three dates to surpass attendance figures for all of 2002. The Frogs logged a 35-22 record overall, including a 22-8 mark in conference play, finishing second in the league's regular season standings. Long-time coach Lance Brown, who recorded his 500th career win during the season, retired following the campaign. Right-hander Clayton Jerome was named the conference Pitcher of the Year and earned all-America recognition. Five Horned Frogs were selected in the Major League Baseball draft.
TCU capped off the year on the track with the men's squad taking the Conference USA title, finishing fifth at the first-ever NCAA Midwest Regional meet, then tying for 14th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Meanwhile the women placed third at the conference championships, their highest finish ever, and scored in two events at the national meet. The Frogs had 11 different athletes earn an all-America certificate, including seven men and four women. Michael Frater was recognized as an all-American on the track and also as a third-team academic all-American for his work in the classroom.
All told, 38 Horned Frog athletes were selected as Conference USA Players of the Week, 119 athletes earned a spot on the Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll for having a GPA of 3.0 or better and 27 student-athletes received the C-USA Commissioner's Academic Medal for carrying a 3.75 GPA or better.
With 22 conference championships under their belts over the past four years, look for the Horned Frogs to add to that impressive total in 2003-04.