AD Candidates: Chris Del Conte

In this edition of dissecting possible AD candidates, we'll take a look at TCU Athletic Director Chris Del Conte.

First his resume:

  • Received a bachelor's of arts degree in sociology from UC Santa Barbara and a master's of education, administration and supervision from Washington State.
  • Served as an assistant athletics director for external operations at both Washington State (1998-99) and Cal Poly (1994-98).
  • AD at Rice from 2006-2009
  • Took over as AD at TCU in 2009
  • Oversaw a fundraising campaign that made it possible for TCU to undergo a $164 million renovation of Amon G. Carter Stadium, its longtime football home.
  • Recipient of the 2010 Bobby Dodd Division I-A Athletic Director's Award
  • Led TCU's July 1, 2012 entrance into the Big 12 Conference
On paper, Del Conte fits the bill. While Gary Patterson has been building TCU's football program on the field, Del Conte has played an integral role behind the scenes. The two have brought TCU from football irrelevancy in the national spotlight and now into a conference that takes its football mighty seriously. TCU's stadium renovations have been quite impressive, and Del Conte has been at the forefront of it, spearheading the effort. Fundraising is critical, and it would have to be intriguing to Clemson that Del Conte has been so successful doing it at a small private school that until this year has been in the Mountain West Conference.

TCU has also had strong success in baseball under Del Conte's watch. How much this success can be chalked up to Del Conte's efforts is hard to determine. TCU's baseball coach Jim Schlossnagle was hired in 2003, six years before Del Conte came on the scene. The baseball program has made the NCAA tournament every year since Schlossnagle was hired including a trip to the College World Series in 2010. Del Conte did help fundraise a 2010 expansion of the Horned Frogs' baseball stadium.

In basketball, Del Conte was able to lure away LSU's Trent Johnson to Fort Worth. Johnson, who had stops at Nevada, Stanford, and then LSU, has two Sweet 16 appearances under his belt. This was considered a strong pull for TCU, a basketball program that has been largely irrelevant, having not been to the NCAA Tournament since 1998.

Del Conte's biggest achievement at TCU is certainly his successful move of the Horned Frogs to the Big XII. With a football slate that will now include games against West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas every year, the ticket and tv revenue that will follow from that will be huge for his program. It's a colossal step from the Mountain West.

Del Conte would be an interesting hire at Clemson. If Clemson wants a proactive AD that has a reputation and history of putting his coaches in excellent positions to win, Del Conte could be the guy. While Del Conte has gained a reputation as being outspoken at times, particularly with the media, perhaps that's wouldn't be such a bad thing. Del Conte helped propel TCU into football and baseball prominence, and his blueprint at TCU could help Clemson take the critical next step it needs.
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