Chad Glasgow sacrificed all he had to break into the fraternity of college football coaches. Well, maybe not all he had, but all that would fit into his red Ford Taurus.
“I packed everything I had into my car,” he said. “If it didn’t fit in my car, I didn’t take it.”
That was in 1996, when he drove from Stillwater, Okla., to Albuquerque, N.M., to join the University of New Mexico staff as a graduate assistant. Ten months later, Glasgow was off to Illinois State for his first full-time staff position. Making $8,000 a year, he unloaded the Taurus for a new Chevy pickup truck.
“I rented these people’s basement apartment for a couple hundred bucks a month or whatever it was,” Glasgow said. “That was all bills and everything. I thought I was rich.”
Fast forward 15 years, and Glasgow no longer has to leave everything behind when he moves, nor do his real-estate searches begin with basement apartments. He’s no longer on the bottom rung of a coaching staff either.
The huge task of turning around Texas Tech’s dreadful defense of 2010 falls on him. Eight months ago, after a successful, 10-year run as safeties coach at TCU, he was hired to be the Red Raiders’ defensive coordinator.
From a humble start, he made defensive coordinator in a BCS conference before age 40.
“I don’t think anybody’s real surprised at him, to be honest,” said former Oklahoma State coach Pat Jones. “But obviously, he’s not a silver spoon guy.”
Jones knows Glasgow better than many in the coaching profession. Jones served as OSU’s head coach from 1984 through 1994. Toward the end of that run, Jones had Glasgow as a player — a strong safety/outside linebacker type he described as “a classic overachiever, a competitive guy, a gym rat.”
Jones and other Cowboys coaches liked Glasgow so much, they offered him an entry-level staff job right after he’d finished his career.
“He was just a classic guy that never goes away,” Jones said. “Nothing about his height, weight, speed or overall athletic ability popped out at you, but he was one of those relentless guys that earned everything he got and was appreciative and loyal and tough, all that stuff.”
If there’s anyone in the profession who knows Glasgow better than Jones, it would be TCU coach Gary Patterson. Glasgow worked for him for the last decade, and their relationship goes back further. When Glasgow loaded up the Taurus for the drive to Albuquerque, he joined a UNM staff where Patterson had just come aboard as defensive coordinator.
Glasgow was in Patterson’s wedding and vice versa.
All the time they spent together gave Glasgow an appreciation for Patterson.
“I think we were a lot alike in how we came up through the ranks,” Glasgow said. “We’re willing to work hard, and he took me under his wing as a young coach, and I just tried to work my tail off at whatever it was and be the best assistant once I got to TCU I could be.
“I relied on him a lot from a learning standpoint, especially early in my career at New Mexico and TCU. He’s a guy that cares a lot about people, and I was one of those people he cared about and I cared a lot about him. I think we’re both cut out of the same cloth in a lot of ways. We’re both extremely competitive.”
In his search for a defensive coordinator last winter, Tommy Tuberville had a few prerequisites. First, he wanted a coach who knew and could recruit the state of Texas.
Chad Glasgow, with his 10 years at TCU, met that requirement.
“You can coach all you want, but if you don’t have the players it doesn’t make any difference,” Tuberville said. “We needed a Texas guy, a guy that’s been in this area. He knew a lot about the Big 12, being from Oklahoma State.”
Tuberville admires what TCU has done lately, leading the nation in defense five times in 11 years and ending the last two seasons in the Fiesta and Rose bowls. He wanted somebody who knew a scheme, knew how to adjust it and had had success in it.
It didn’t scare Tuberville that Glasgow had never been a defensive coordinator.
“I’m looking for a guy that knows a defense, OK?,” Tuberville said, recalling his thought process in the job search. “And he’d been given a lot of leeway with that defense. The head coach (Patterson) being the defensive coordinator, I know how that is. The head coach is part of it, but it’s hard to do all the game planning. You’ve got to have somebody that’s been around it, and of course, he (Glasgow) had been with him (Patterson) since New Mexico, so ... .
“After sitting down and going over it, it was pretty apparent to me that he knew exactly what he was doing, how to do it, how to run the defense.”
Jones remembers a telephone conversation with Glasgow when the latter was considering the Tech job. Jones told his ex-player he’d be “a perfect fit” with Tuberville.
Jones and Tuberville, both with Arkansas roots, have known each other for decades. Jones remembers then-Arkansas State coach Larry Lacewell bringing members of his staff, of which Tuberville was a part, to OSU in the mid-1980s.
He said Tuberville and Glasgow are “a lot the same kind of guy.”
“I told him this: Tommy’s going to pay attention in recruiting to what it takes to play good defense,” Jones said. “Speed guys. Maybe take an undersized guy that you didn’t know where he’s going to play, but could run and was a tough kid and you find a place for him. Tommy’s very clued in to that, where some guys aren’t.”
Chad Glasgow has experienced firsthand how much life can change in no time. Just a year and a half ago, he was a bachelor coach in charge of one position, safeties. Then he got married. Then he and his wife, Maida, had twin sons, Colt and Brance.
Then Texas Tech beckoned, pulling him away from TCU.
“We’d built a brand-new house,” Glasgow said. “The day we closed on it, we put a for-sale sign on it.”
Now, instead of being in charge of himself and a small group of players, he’s responsible for a family of four and an entire defense.
Never mind that he’s a coordinator for the first time at any level. Since the first week of spring practice Glasgow has asserted himself. His habit of sprinting from one place to another, getting after his players in a bellowing voice, became a familiar sight in a hurry.
“Chad’s had a good impact,” Tuberville said. “He’s got a different personality. He’s one of those guys that’s very intense, and I think players early were kind of caught off-guard by a guy who just steadily stays on them. But usually you get used to it, because you know he’s trying to help you and trying to get you (going) in the right direction. That’s just his coaching technique.”
Players have played along. One of Glasgow’s mantras is “Hunt together.” The players quickly added “Kill together.” Someone who gave lagging effort in the August heat was likely to be scolded with another Glasgow catchphrase: “Every play! Every day!”
Menacing as he might appear on the field, Glasgow tends to be self-effacing off it. Told that his gravelly voice and shaved head might be described as military, he laughs and replies, “I don’t know how many short, fat, bald guys they let in the military.”
Glasgow’s also been asked more than once whether he ever loses his voice, what with all the shouting.
“Dr. (Michael) Phy’s got me on some steroids whenever we get going that help tremendously,” Glasgow said. “I’ve had all kinds of home remedies. I’ve not found a whole lot that works other than a little time.”
The way Glasgow sees it, it’s up to him to set a tone and be enthusiastic.
“I think in order to go play defense the way defense is supposed to be played, it’s about passion and effort and those things,” he said. “There’s only one way kids get that. It all starts with how we go and how we approach it and how we coach them. It’s hard to go and demand something if you’re not willing to make the same demands on yourself, and we want to practice and play for perfection.”
The closest the teams he’s been on have come to achieving perfection might have been the last two years. Glasgow has a commemorative football from the Fiesta Bowl and a ring from the Rose Bowl, mementos that put an exclamation point on the TCU chapter of his life.
Make no mistake. He appreciates the ride and values the experience, “especially being kind of an outsider like we were and having a tough road to get there.”
“But I’ve never been one of those guys that liked to talk about all that stuff, because it’s in the past,” Glasgow said. “By the time you get that ring, shoot, you’re already working on the next year.”
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