For Gary Patterson, it was the call that didn't come more than decade ago that allowed him to continue building something special at TCU.
On Dec. 19, 2006, Patterson and TCU hammered Northern Illinois, 37-7, in the Poinsettia Bowl to reach 11 wins for the second-straight season. The then-46-year-old had 54 wins since 2001 — his first full season as head coach — and was one of the hottest up-and-comers in college football.
Ten days after the Horned Frogs' bowl victory, Minnesota blew a 38-7 lead against Texas Tech in the Insight Bowl. In a knee-jerk decision from athletics director Joel Maturi, head coach Glen Mason was fired two days later. One of Maturi's first calls went to Patterson, who interviewed immediately.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Patterson initially removed his name from consideration but had second thoughts and, with the position still open, contacted Maturi to say he would take the job if offered. It's unclear how that conversation went and if the Gophers actually considered reversing course to hire — or at least consider hiring — Patterson. Either they had already extended the offer to Denver Broncos' tight ends coach Tim Brewster, were pursuing other candidates or simply moved on. They never offered the job to Patterson.
Brewster was eventually hired and he promptly lit the program on fire, ruffling feathers within the athletic department while winning just 15 games in three seasons and twice losing — ironically — the Insight Bowl. He was fired in October 2010. Patterson, meanwhile, went 54-10 over the next five seasons, won three Mountain West titles and the 2011 Rose Bowl. He also reached the 2010 Fiesta Bowl and has led TCU's transition into the Big 12.
Minnesota should have made the call.