By Melissa Triebwasser
Frogs Today staff writer
I decided that I wanted to move back to Texas the day of the Rose Bowl.
I was living in California and drove down for the game, blaring the fight song through my sun roof as I drove down a purple-clad Rodeo Drive. Between the alumni tailgate, the game and the celebration after, I desperately wanted to be back in Texas and back connected to TCU.
I interviewed for a job several weeks later, and while I was in town, I walked around TCU for the first time since moving back to California in 2004. I couldn’t believe how different it was. What once was a parking lot was an expansive green space, a quad centered around Frog Fountain and surrounded by dormitories and administrative buildings that gave central campus more a community feel. TCU had grown and evolved alongside the football program, and the changes and investment would only increase as the profile of the team did.
Horned Frogs matriculating from the West Coast went from an anomaly during my time as an undergrad to an expectation. This year alone I can tell you of a dozen or more students from my medium-sized private school in Sacramento that submitted an application, and Californians comprise around 15 percent of each class now.
After the Rose Bowl, TCU applications rose by 42 percent. Applications from California increased by over 100 percent, Oregon 200 percent and 100,000 first-time visitors checked out www.tcu.edu. To say that the appearance in that iconic game completely changed TCU is far from an overreach.
Back-to-back undefeated regular seasons coupled with consecutive trips to the Fiesta and Rose bowls put TCU on the national stage in a way few could have imagined just a few short years prior. Folks love to back a winner, so with the victories came donations and with donations came upgrades.
An invitation to the Big East Conference was soon parlayed into joining the Big 12, and the Horned Frogs were “welcomed home” with a series of stadium upgrades for football and other sports across campus.