Patterson and TCU agree to part ways, coach won’t finish ’21

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FORT WORTH, Texas – TCU and football coach Gary Patterson mutually agreed to immediately part ways Sunday before the completion of his 21st season.

The announcement came a day after the Horned Frogs (3-5, 1-4 Big 12) lost 31-12 at Kansas State, Patterson’s alma mater. It was their fifth loss in six games, and they are 21-22 overall since the start of 2018.

Patterson leaves TCU with a 181-79 record, including an undefeated 13-0 season in 2010 that was capped by a Rose Bowl victory. He was the second-longest tenured FBS coach, trailing only Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who is in his 23rd season.

TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati said he and school chancellor Victor Boschini met Sunday with the 61-year-old Patterson “and mutually agreed that the time has come for a new voice and leadership” in the football program.

While responding in a text message that it was “correct” that he had mutually agreed to depart, Patterson had no other response to the AP on Sunday night.

“We asked him to continue on as our head coach for the remainder of the season, and take on a different role in 2022, but he believed it was in the team’s and TCU’s best interests to begin the transition immediately,” Donati said. “We respect Coach Patterson’s perspective and will move forward in that direction.”

Former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, who was the best man in Patterson’s wedding and on his staff in an off-field role as a special assistant in charge of the offense, will be the interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The Frogs, who have four games left in the regular season, host 14th-ranked Baylor on Saturday.

Kill was Minnesota’s coach from 2011-15 before seizures caused by his epilepsy forced him to step down. He was offensive coordinator at Rutgers in 2017, but that was his last time in an on-field coaching role. He joined Patterson at TCU in February 2020, after a similar off-field role at Virginia Tech.

Patterson was the second Big 12 head coach let go within a week. Texas Tech fired third-year coach Matt Wells last Monday, also after a loss to Kansas State.

TCU’s only Big 12 win was 52-31 at Texas Tech on Oct. 9. A week after that, the Horned Frogs lost 52-31 to fourth-ranked Oklahoma

While Patterson is a defensive-minded coach, the Horned Frogs have had one of the Big 12’s worst defenses this season. They ranked eighth in the 10-team league in scoring defense (31.5 points per game), and are ninth in total defense, giving up 443.3 yards per game.

Patterson was TCU’s defensive coordinator for three seasons on Dennis Franchione‘s staff. He was promoted to head coach when Franchione left to become Alabama’s coach at the end of the 2000 regular season.

The Frogs won or shared championships in Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference under Patterson before becoming a Power Five team with their move to the Big 12 in 2012. They shared the Big 12 title in 2014, when TCU and Baylor were co-champions and were the first teams left out of the initial four-team College Football Playoff.

“The story of Gary Patterson and the rise in the fortunes of the TCU football program over the last 20 years is clearly one of the most remarkable in the history of college football,” Donati said. “We are grateful to Gary and Kelsey Patterson and appreciate everything they have meant to TCU and the Fort Worth community. Under his leadership, TCU has become a nationally recognized brand name in football and in collegiate athletics.”

TCU had 11 seasons with at least 10 wins under Patterson, the last in 2017 when they were ninth in the final AP Top 25 poll after going 11-3 and beating Stanford in the Alamo Bowl. That was the end of a streak of six finishes inside the top 10 over a 10-season period, including No. 2 in 2010 and No. 3 in 2014.

Patterson was also the active wins leader among coaches at their current schools, ahead of Ferentz (174) and Alabama’s Nick Saban (171). Next on that list is Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy with 144 wins in his 17th season at that Big 12 school.

Minnesota football players’ discrimination lawsuit dismissed

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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MINNEAPOLIS — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by nine former University of Minnesota football players who were accused of sexual assault in 2016 in a case that roiled the school’s football program.

The lawsuit against the school claimed that the players faced emotional distress and financial damage after being falsely accused of being sex offenders. The players, who were identified in the lawsuit as John Does, sought unspecified damages for willful and malicious discrimination.

A woman alleged up to a dozen football players raped her or watched and cheered at an off-campus party in 2016. None of the players were ever charged.

The university found that 10 football players committed sexual misconduct. Five of them were expelled or suspended for violating student conduct codes, and the others were cleared on appeal.

In their lawsuit, the players alleged that the woman initiated the sexual encounters with players and an underage recruit.

U.S. District Court Judge Donovan Frank dismissed the lawsuit last week, saying the former players did not prove any of their claims, including allegations of bias by university investigators or pressure from Athletic Director Mark Coyle and former President Eric Kaler, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported.

David Madgett, an attorney for the players, said Tuesday that they are considering an appeal but have to determine if it makes sense financially and in terms of letting the former players get on with their lives. He said it was disappointing that the outcome was determined by the judge’s version of events and not decided by a jury.

“It’s disappointing to see disputes decided in this way,” Madgett said. “That’s the way things are decided more and more these days. … It’s disappointing you don’t get your day in court.”

When the allegations became public in 2016, players threatened to boycott the team’s trip to the Holiday Bowl. But after a graphic report of the investigation was released, the players agreed to play in the game.

University of Minnesota spokesman Jake Ricker said the school appreciated the judge’s decision affirming the actions taken in the case. He said the university would continue its work focusing on sexual misconduct awareness, prevention and response.

Frank dismissed the lawsuit in 2019, but an appeals court reinstated part of it in 2021 and returned it to Frank.

The players, all of whom are Black, also initially claimed racial discrimination, but that claim was previously dismissed.

The only remaining claim alleged Title IX gender discrimination. The former players noted that they never faced criminal charges, but Frank’s ruling said that “is certainly not evidence of a judicial adjudication or that plaintiffs ‘were proven innocent.'”

The men also claimed that an investigator for the university’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action used “manipulative tactics” with them in interviews and that their accuser helped draft the report. The players also alleged that “prior failed investigations motivated” the the school to punish them.

Frank said all the claims were unsupported by the evidence and “no reasonable jury could find that the University disciplined plaintiffs on the basis of sex.”

Michigan State player who swung helmet gets probation

Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
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ANN ARBOR, Mich. — A Michigan State football player who swung his helmet at a Michigan player in a stadium tunnel expressed regret Tuesday and said he’s “just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue” on the field.

Khary Crump, a defensive back, was sentenced to probation. He was one of seven Michigan State players charged in a skirmish that followed a loss at Michigan Stadium on Oct. 29.

Crump was the only Spartan facing a felony, but that charge was dismissed in an agreement to plead guilty to misdemeanors. His record will be scrubbed clean if he stays out of trouble while on probation.

“Unfortunately, an exchange of words (took place), I felt attacked and unfortunately I did what I did,” Crump said of the tunnel altercation involving Michigan’s Gemon Green. “I’m not proud of that. I’m looking forward to moving forward.”

Crump was suspended by coach Mel Tucker. In addition, the Big Ten has suspended him for eight games in 2023.

“I had difficulties trying to stomach my actions … on that fateful day, but it happened. I can’t take it back,” Crump told MLive.com after the court hearing. “Honestly, I’m just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue in the future — on the football field, of course.”

At least four other players charged with misdemeanors Will Likely have their cases dismissed in exchange for community service and other conditions. The cases against two others are pending.