Gary Patterson: 'I do more coaching of parents than I do players'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Monday July 17, 2017

FRISCO, Texas — The recruiting process is a focus on high school kids, but getting the parents on board has become more and more important.

The new early signing period and official visits are speeding up the process, and kids will make quicker decisions. Gary Patterson isn’t worried about the players. He’s worried about the people who are talking to them. He favored early signing, but doesn’t want to lose what matters in the process.

My biggest problem with kids right now is maybe the parents. I do more coaching of parents than I do players,” Patterson said at Big 12 Media Days. “Our job is to prepare (players) for what they do when they get out of college. What does that have to do with Signing Day? It has all to do with Signing Day.

“It has to do with making sure kids grow up, make sure they become what we want them to become, not just as football players, but as people. Get a degree and become somebody. If we’re not careful, we’re turning it into a show, and that’s not what we’re trying to get accomplished.”

Pat Fitzgerald made a similar comment in 2016, saying evaluating the parents has become a big part of the recruiting process. 

Decommitments have become so frequent that 247Sports now tracks them. Early signing could change some of that, but Patterson again points to the people around players. He broke from his commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who brought up the idea of earlier signing windows as early as September while speaking before Patterson.

Many coaches don’t favor the early official visits beginning next April, including Patterson, but it’s an opportunity for a player to get a better understanding of a school. The TCU coach says that’s what has led to many decommits. Early signing makes visits even more important, for everyone involved.

All the mistakes everyone talks about with players, kids want to decommit and stuff, a lot get talked into a place they don’t know anything about. They just read the name and don’t fit in,” he said. “We’ve got to get back to kids getting on our campus, see if they like the coaches and things.

“I call it the Frog Factor. If they like everything about TCU beside football, then they’re going to have a great experience. They like the academics, the people, the way we coach, their position coach, the head coach, then they’re going to stay, grow up and do the things they need to do. One of the reasons I’ve been able to stay is because you have to build a great foundation.”

TCU currently has 13 commitments in its 2018 class, which is ranked No.21 nationally.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to