Spring 1998
Paths less traveled
Alma Matters
Riff Ram
Purple Heart
Class Notes
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TCU Magazine "Class Notes"

Nailon 'em to the wall

Led by big junior Lee Nailon, but balanced inside and outside by juniors Mike Jones, Malcolm Johnson (click to see him slamming the basket), Prince Fowler and James Penny and senior Dennis Davis, the Frogs showed their sellout Daniel-Meyer Coliseum crowds how the best offense has a lot to do with a ball-stealing defense. The result at press time? A No. 15 ranking, an NCAA berth, the best-ever TCU win-loss record and the highest-scoring offense in college basketball.

Tsk, tsk, Tut announces retirement

SARA BARTZEN wishes more people really knew Tut Bartzen, men's tennis coach for the last quarter-century and the gentlemen with whom she has walked with and worked with for the past 43 years.

The one who doesn't miss a single Mass during the Advent season.

The one who has taken only three actual vacations in 25 years.

The one who reads from the Good Book every day.

And the one who -- after posting a 518-192 (.730) career record and 18 top-20 finishes since 1977 and becoming the winningest coach in TCU history -- quietly annouced his retirement on Feb. 15.

"He's the most amazing person I've ever known," said Sara, affectionately called "Bonzo" by Bartzen. "He's always been driven to do something, and I think he figured that now was the time to leave the program, while he was still able to do something productive with the rest of his life."

Bartzen, 70, has been faced with the "retirement" question since his middle-60s, he said. Always, the deciding factor was not what was best for him, but rather, best for recruiting and best for keeping his national powerhouse charged up. "You bring these kids in every year, and you feel responsible for them. How can you ever walk away?" From Bartzen's perspective, you don't. He plans to remain as the director of Mary Potishman Lard Tennis Center, Sara as its associate director.

"Close to a quarter-century ago Tut Bartzen [with the continued backing of Bayard Friedman, former chair of the Board of Trustees] took over a modest program at ground zero or below and built it into a consistent national power," said Chancellor William E. Tucker.  "He is the most successful coach in the entire history of TCU sports, and by a wide margin.  A consummate gentleman as well as a world-class player and master teacher, he has been a remarkable role model for student-athletes here and across the globe."

Certainly, David Pate agrees. In 1981, Bartzen coached Pate and Assistant Coach Karl Richter to the NCAA doubles title. The two players are among his 41 All-Americans.

"He (Bartzen) has a tremendous knowledge of the game and he has the ability to transfer that knowledge to young minds," Pate said.  "Coach taught us the benefits of hard work.  More than anything, though, having always been a winner himself, he knows how to win and has always wanted to win.  He helps his players in learning how to win and what it takes."

First and goals

In December, the University named Miami University of Ohio's Eric Hyman as the Horned Frogs' fourth athletic director, and one week later Hyman named University of New Mexico football coach Dennis Franchione ("Coach Fran") became TCU's 28th gridiron boss.

"I have a tremendous feeling about the attitude here -- the commitment as to what TCU wants to do. . . not only on the field of competition, but in the classroom," Hyman said. And Franchione indicated that, on and off the football field, he is more than willing to give it the old college try. "I've done this before. I think if there's one thing that I do, it's rebuild football programs. My wife would tell you I can hardly hammer a nail in a board, but I can motivate people and I can get them excited."

Indeed, Franchione, despite a relatively late start in the recruiting season, harvested a class deemed solid by preseason prognosticators.

With Hyman, Miami had the fifth-highest graduation rate among all NCAA division IA schools in the country and won 10 conference championships over the last two years in women's and men's swimming, golf, men's and women's tennis, women's volleyball and men's basketball. Under Franchione's leadership, UNM (9-3) captured the 1997 WAC Mountain Division title and earned a berth to the Insight.Com bowl (formerly the Copper Bowl), the Lobos' first bowl game since 1961.


Amazing feat. The 1997 football season marked the 50th anniversary of (and consequently, the bronzing of) former TCU punter Carl Knox's '48 amazing feet, or foot, that is: Inside their own one-yard line on fourth down against what is now Oklahoma State, the Frogs turned to Knox to merely kick the ball out of TCU's end zone. Knox more than obliged, sending the ball an amazing 94 yards downfield. The opposing runner then returned the ball only to the 12. . . where he was tackled by Knox himself.

Twice as fast. Senior Giesla Jackson set speedy marks at the Colorado Springs Sprint Classic in February, running a second-fastest-in-the-nation time in the 55-meter dash, and a 200-meter finish that ranked first in the WAC and sixth in the nation. Senior Syan Williams posted the nation's fastest 55-meter indoor time at the same meet, 6.06 seconds. The time also qualified him for the NCAA meet and pushed him past two-time Olympian Raymond Stewart as TCU's all-time fastest in the 55.

Coach notes:

Baseball. As predicted, preseason All-American Chris Connally and the 1998 TCU Horned Frogs have shown they can put up some impressive numbers this spring, 12 in a win against Texas Tech, 22 against UTA. Pitching, Coach Lance Brown said, should also follow suit. "We should be a balanced team this year. Our pitching, defense and offense should complement each other; we can still win games when we do not get great pitching or score a lot of runs."

Basketball. The women started strong but then fell flat in the middle of their conference schedule, posting a slightly-above-winning record. Still, Coach Mike Petersen has become the program's winningest coach in only his third season. "I understand progress," he said, "and while our immediate desire is to win now, the future is in place."

Golf. Ranked second in the nation by Golfweek as of late February, the men opened the spring with a second-place finish in February at the Eighth Annual Taylor Made/Waikoloa Big Island Intercollegiate, led by junior Grady Girard, who finished fifth in the individual standings. The women finished ninth out of a field of 18 in the NCAA Regional Challenge in February, with sophomore Angela Stanford finishing sixth individually, her fourth Top 10 finish out of five tournaments in the 1997-98 campaign.

Rifle. The women finished second and third in smallbore at the NCAA Rifle Sectionals in February, and posted first and third in air rifle. Senior Theresa Glasgow led the Frogs in both categories.

Swimming. Led by junior breaststroker Jason Flint -- he's ranked 10th in the country and 39th in world in the 200 breaststroke and has not lost a dual race in the 200 since he has been at TCU -- the men received votes for the top 25 for the first time since 1989. The women, led by distance swimmer Megan Ryther, scored a big win over swim power Arkansas in January, and Ryther herself had an especially busy Christmas break: She competed in the World Games in Perth, Australia, where she placed fourth in the 5K open-water race and was part of the U.S. team that won a gold medal.

Tennis. The women were ranked 49th at press time, thanks to sophomores Daria Zoldakova, Jessika Kjellgren and Lucie Dvorakova, the latter ranked 37th in the nation. "This is potentially the best team we've ever had," said Coach Roland Ingram, "and I think that part of it is these girls have a lot of spirit and camaraderie, plus they work extremely hard." The men, with four freshman rounding out the top six roster spots, still find themselves 35th in the country.

Volleyball. Head coach Sandy Troudt welcomed five new faces for the fall squad, predicting the program's third class as the strongest in Volleyfrog history. "I'm very excited for each and every player as we head into next season," Troudt said. "We project as many as three of the entering five to fulfill starting roles in the fall."