Kelsey Patterson didn’t always like football.
She grew up in Texas but wasn’t ever quite drawn to the sport like everyone else she knew seemed to be. Then, one day in 2002, she met Gary Patterson. The TCU football coach was recording his weekly radio show at the Fort Worth Zoo where Kelsey was working and, quite suddenly, football seemed a little bit more interesting.
In the ten-plus years since that day, Kelsey Patterson has found herself not only interested in football, but shaped by it. She’s much more than the coach’s wife. She’s a confident for players, a provider on “Cookie Thursdays” and the biggest Horned Frogs fan out there. Here’s what you need to know about her:
1. Gary & Kelsey Were Married in 2004
Kelsey Hayes became Kelsey Patterson in 2004 when she and Gary tied the knot. A Fort Worth native, Kelsey met Gary after he first took over the Horned Frogs football program in December 2000.
Kelsey was working as the Director of Marketing at the Fort Worth Zoo in 2002 when a co-worker requested to meet the TCU coach. He held his radio show at the zoo and the two immediately hit it off as soon as they met.
Since their wedding, Gary and Kelsey have welcomed three sons: Josh, Cade and Blake.
2. Kelsey Got Her Degree in Communications From the University of Texas
Although she returned to Forth Worth after school, Kelsey has said that she wanted a change of pace during college – leading her to the University of Texas in Austin. She told the TCU Magazine:
I’m an only child. I needed to get away from home. I was pre-med when I first started looking at schools, and I looked at a lot of schools – Georgetown, Colgate, a lot of small schools. I decided I needed to be not that far from home, just that right distance. I am very close with my parents, but I needed some distance from mom and dad. I had a great college experience.
Both of Kelsey’s parent worked at Lockheed in Fort Worth but she opted to focus her studies on marketing, earning her degree in communications with a focus on marketing and speech communications. She previously worked on the capital campaign for the University of Texas and assisted on the Golden Retriever Rescue of North Texas.
3. She Currently Works as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Gary Patterson Foundation
Kelsey currently focuses her work efforts on the charity side of marketing, serving as the secretary and treasurer of the Gary Patterson Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on supporting under privileged children, providing funding for programs and scholarships that focus on education, life-skills and health and family issues.
Over the past few years, the Foundation has supported a handful of specific charities and organizations, including a recent focus on the George C. Clark elementary school. The school’s Reading is Fundamental project was one of the Foundation’s first major initiatives and since the Foundation first got involved, the school’s passing rate on state exams has grown by nearly 40 percent.
The Foundation also regularly works with the Lena Pop Home Chapel Hill Achievers and has donated to over two dozen organizations in the greater Texas area.
4. Kelsey Is a Regular at TCU Practices & Games
While Gary has a reputation for on-field and in-practice intensity, Kelsey is there to offer the other end of the emotional spectrum. She regularly attends TCU practices and games and has become a bit of a surrogate family member for Horned Frogs players.
Kelsey told TCU Magazine she simply can’t turn players away when they want to talk and embraces her role as a confident:
I don’t know how you not do it. During the recruiting process, you’re selling them on TCU and that we’re going to take care of them, as Gary says, not for four years but 40 years. You’re looking into the eyes of an 18 year old, and he’s trusting you. He’s 100 or 500 miles from home. I remember how tough college was being away from home for the first time, not just academically, but socially. So you make promises to them, and I don’t know how you can’t feel entrusted to care for them. I like getting to know the players. I like making sure they have a place to enjoy being a college student. The new players’ lounge is going to be great for them to unwind. They’ve got some place to go that is homey.
Kelsey also runs regular “Cookie Days” for the TCU squad and, two days before a game, she makes sure that players get the sweets. Although she’s admitted that she doesn’t always bake the cookies on those days, Kelsey said that the snacks don’t last long around dozens of college football players.
5. She & Gary Have Adopted Two Rescue Dogs
In addition to being parents to three sons, Kelsey and Gary are also pet-parents to two rescue dogs named Chloe and Mattie. Occasionally Kelsey will bring both dogs, golden retrievers, to Horned Frog practices.
Kelsey has been involved in animal rescue for years, even before she started working at the Fort Worth Zoo in the early 2000’s. She explained to TCU Magazine how important the work has become to her:
I got into rescue when I was single, and I volunteered and did PR and marketing for them. I decided that if I ever got a dog, I would get a rescue dog. Eventually I got a rescue dog for my parents before I got married and got a house. Charlie was our first rescue dog – Gary and me. We had to put him down two years ago after he developed cancer.
Kelsey said that the most important part of rescue work was adding a new dynamic to her family and all three Patterson boys have embraced the golden retriever additions to their group.