League amenities, Lupton Stadium and Williams-Reilly Field has the baseball
program feeling good about its home-field advantage.
coach Lance Brown jokes that he's never had a more tidy bunch of players.
But walk through the team's locker room at sparkling new Lupton Stadium
and nary a hat, batting glove or stray jock strap is out of place.
the maid comes through everyday," Brown laughs.
you'd keep it clean too if you had new digs like this: Heated dugouts
with Major League-style bat and helmet racks, spacious bullpen areas just
outside the foul lines, the best natural grass surface available -- Bermuda
$7 million ballpark is a diamond in every sense of the word. Pitchers
love the deep fences. Hitters talk about the wide-open power alleys. Fielders
warn that base hits get to the fence in a hurry. And no one misses opposing
players snickering at the green slope in right-center.
that ugly wall, everybody did," senior outfielder Terry Trofholz says.
"But now, the players are taking a lot of pride in the stadium. It's a
responsibility, but it's one we will gladly take. It's almost like we
have a brand-new [baseball] program here."
sense of enthusiasm and energy extends to all reaches of the program:
image. "What people have thought about our old place and about our
team -- nine guys hitting bombs [in a small ballpark] and high-scoring, no
defense games -- is going to change," says Coach Brown. "Fans are going to
see us getting a lot more doubles and triples. There's going to be a lot
of plays at the plate."
"We're going to need to have a good defense," says senior third baseman
Mike Settle, "because at the old place, it wasn't as big a factor. If
you made good contact, it was either a home run or a single."
agrees. When players get hits in the outfield alleys, "they need to be
thinking three, not gliding around first. A great center fielder is going
to be a must. Pitching and defense will definitely be more important."
Brown could always recruit. But with Texas programs such as Baylor, Rice
and Houston dangling new stadiums before prospects' eyes, the coach was
facing an uphill climb.
Lupton has caught the eye of top players from the Metroplex, and seven
are already signed up to join TCU next season.
a sudden, they can say, 'Hey, I can stay here in Fort Worth and play,
and play at this first-class facility," he says.
support. More than 3,100 saw the Frogs play their home opener on Feb.
19. Compare that to the "crowd" of 232 that saw them open the season the
year before, and the impact the stadium has already had on the program
is clear. (In fact, the Feb. 19 audience, which overflowed onto the grassy
areas along the foul lines, was more than half of what TCU drew in the
entire 2002 season.)
of the their first 11 wins coming in Fort Worth, the Frogs are off to
a fast start in making Lupton a real home-field advantage.
basketball. At press time, the Lady Frogs had just swept through the
Conference USA Tournament to earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament,
the program's third consecutive trip to the Big Dance. When they got there,
they defeated eighth-seeded Michigan State 50-47 in the first round for
the right to play top seed Connecticut, which had won 70 of its last 71
games. The Lady Frogs played with hustle and spirit and led the Lady Huskies
at the half, 35-33, before falling behind in the second half. They lost
81-66, but made a very respectable showing in front of a nationally televised
audience on ESPN. The game capped off an up-and-down year for the Lady
Frogs, who played the nation's seventh-most difficult schedule. The season's
most memorable highlight came in late February. A home defeat of UAB gave
Jeff Mittie his 79th win as head coach, making him the winningest coach
in the program's history.
golf. With a school-record four golfers rated in the top 100, the
Frogs held the third position in Golfweek's ratings of collegiate golf
teams. Among the players rated in the top 100 are: Adam Rubinson (No.
19), David Schultz (No. 31), Adam Meyer (No. 75) and Colby Beckstrom (No.
golf. The Lady Frogs began the spring with a second-place finish at
the Tulane Invitational. Their three-day score of 922 was 14 shots behind
the host school. The Frog duo of D'Rae Ward and Brooke Tull posted top
10 individual finishes. For Ward, her eight-over 224 was good for fourth
place -- her best finish of the season.
The No. 11 Flyin' Frogs have 12 athletes and the 4x440 yard relay team
qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March. On the men's side,
they include All-American sprinter Michael Frater and Jabari Fields in
the 60-meter dash, Jermaine Joseph in the 200 meters, Jerry Harris and
Brandon Simpson in the 400 meters, Jackson Langat in the 800 meters, All-Americans
Aundre Edwards and Cleavon Dillon in the long jump and Brandal Lawrence
in the triple jump. On the women's side, sprinter Monica Twum and La'Toya
White in the 60 meters and Donita Harmon in the 200 meters have set qualifying
The Frogs swept individual and team titles in February at the NCAA Sectional
meet on their home range. TCU Purple won both the smallbore and air rifle
competitions with the White team placing second in both disciplines. Celeste
Green earned Sectional championship crowns in both events.
The defending champion men's team won the Conference USA Invitational
in February, sparked by a school record 1:21.38 in the 200 freestyle relay.
The squad of Aaron Ewert, Jeff Parkinson, David Tietze and Dana Kizer
bested the record set in 1997 by four-tenths of a second. Craig Chapman
also broke a school record -- his own -- in the 200 backstroke with a
time of 1:45.56. The women closed the most successful regular season in
head coach Richard Sybesma's 24 years at TCU, notching a dual meet record
of 12-2. Their 200 free relay team also did some record breaking. The
squad of Leann Cathcart, Erin Irons, Andrea Stevens and Katie Schell took
the C-USA title in 1:35.04, breaking the 1988 school record by one-hundredth
of a second. Irons continued her success when she won the 50-yard freestyle
in :23.28, edging a TCU record of :23.36, set in 1990.
The women began their 2003 season with a perfect 4-0 mark (2-0 in C-USA)
and ranked number 26 in the nation. Wins came against No. 45 Baylor, Houston,
St. Louis and North Texas. The men (5-2, 1-0) are also ranked nationally -- at
No. 36. The Frogs have defeated No. 41 Arizona State, No. 45 South Alabama,
St. Louis, UTA and Texas A&M-CC.