108 Years of TCU Men’s Basketball

From Waco YMCA to NIT Champions, Horned Frog hoops has experienced a range of highs and lows.

108 Years of TCU Men’s Basketball

From Waco YMCA to NIT Champions, Horned Frog hoops has experienced a range of highs and lows.


In the first men’s basketball season, Coach J.R. Langley’s Horned Frogs go 2-3, with both wins coming over Waco YMCA.


Coach Francis Schmidt takes over the football and men’s basketball programs.


The Frogs win their first Southwest Conference men’s basketball title.


Legendary football Coach Dutch Meyer also coaches men’s basketball during this period. His hoops teams go 10-37.



The reign of Coach Buster Brannon, who compiles a 205-259 record.


In TCU’s first appearance in the NCAA championship tournament, the team beats New Mexico State before a second-round loss to the University of Kansas.

January 1952

TCU is ranked nationally for the first time, checking in at No. 12, which is the program’s highest ranking to date.

Feb. 16, 1952

En route to a dominant 11-1 league record, TCU clinches the Southwest Conference championship at the University of Texas at Austin, dashing the Longhorns’ hopes of unseating the red-hot Frogs.

March 21, 1952

In Kansas City, TCU plays against Kansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Frogs’ star forward, George McLeod, fouls out in the first half while guarding Jayhawk legend Clyde Lovellette. Kansas wins the game en route to the national championship.

March 3, 1953

Locked in a three-way tie heading into the final game of the season, TCU beats Texas in Austin to three-peat as Southwest Conference champions.

Feb. 15, 1955

Feb. 15, 1955

TCU’s three-time All-American Dick O’Neal scores 49 points against Rice, setting a record for both TCU and the Southwest Conference. His Horned Frog record would stand for 41 years and still ranks as third best in program history.


TCU makes the NCAA tournament again, bowing out to Cincinnati in the first round after Kenny King fouls out guarding future NBA star Oscar Robertson, who scored 34 points for the Bearcats.

Dec. 18, 1961

Dec. 18, 1961

Daniel-Meyer Coliseum opens with a game against Centenary, which the Frogs win by two points.

Dec. 28, 1963

TCU plays its 1,000th basketball game, a win over the University of Alabama.



James Cash of Fort Worth’s I.M. Terrell High School joins the TCU basketball team. He is the first African-American student-athlete to play in the Southwest Conference.



In Coach Johnny Swaim’s first season, the Frogs win the Southwest Conference and appear in the NCAA tournament’s Midwest regional, losing in the second round to No. 1 Houston.

March 2, 1968

With TCU star Mickey McCarty guarding the backcourt, TCU beats Baylor in Waco in an exciting end-of-season game to clinch another Southwest Conference championship.

Feb. 16, 1971

Eugene “Goo” Kennedy sets a TCU rebound record with 28 against the University of Arkansas.

March 13, 1971

With Goo Kennedy hobbled by a sprained ankle suffered in the season finale against SMU, the Frogs lose to Notre Dame in the opening round of the NCAA tournament in Houston.



The highly successful tenure of Coach Jim Killingsworth, a World War II veteran. His Killer Frogs teams go 130-106.

March 5, 1981

TCU beats Baylor 56-47, logging its first win in the Southwest Conference Postseason Classic, which began in 1976.

March 11, 1983

In an overtime game stretching late into the night, TCU upsets No. 8 Arkansas in the Southwest Conference tournament semifinals. In the next day’s noon championship game against No. 1 Houston (and future NBA star Hakeem Olajuwon), the Frogs lead for most of the game but lose after a still controversial charging call against TCU forward Doug Arnold.

March 16, 1983

TCU makes its first appearance in the National Invitation Tournament. On March 24, the Frogs lose in the third round at Nebraska. The game was the last in the stellar career of hometown hero Darrell Browder, who finishes with 1,886 career points, a TCU record that stands today.

Feb. 22, 1986

Feb. 22, 1986

Sixth man Jamie Dixon hits the legendary half-court “miracle” shot at the buzzer as the Frogs take down the University of Texas at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum to clinch a Southwest Conference title.

March 12, 1987

Behind Carven Holcombe’s 30 points, Southwest Conference champion TCU beats Marshall by 16 points in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Charlotte, N.C.

March 14, 1987

TCU and Notre Dame battle for the duration in the second round of the NCAA tournament. In the final minute, Notre Dame point guard David Rivers tramples over Jamie Dixon, who is called for a controversial blocking foul. Rivers sinks two free throws, and the Irish escape with a 58-57 victory.

March 16, 1987

Killingsworth announces his retirement from coaching.

March 23, 1987

TCU hires Moe Iba, son of basketball coaching legend Henry Iba, as head coach.


The Portland Trailblazers choose center Reggie Smith in the second round of the NBA draft.



The high-scoring tenure of Coach Billy Tubbs, when the Frogs go 156-95.


TCU finishes fourth in the last year of the Southwest Conference. The Frogs won 413 conference games but never the conference postseason tournament.


All-American Kurt Thomas leads the nation in both scoring and rebounding. He is picked No. 10 overall by the Miami Heat in the 1995 NBA draft.

December 1997

Lee Nailon (53) and Mike Jones (51) top the 50-point mark, earning them the first and second spots on TCU’s leaderboard for single game scoring. Nailon sets the record for season points with 796.

March 13, 1998

TCU, a fifth seed, plays Florida State in the Oklahoma City regional of the NCAA tournament. Lee Nailon fouls out after scoring 32 points, and the Seminoles dash the Frogs’ Sweet 16 hopes.

March 6, 2002

Corey Santee of Flint, Mich., finishes with 1,832 career points, good for second in the Horned Frog annals.

March 6, 2002

Corey Santee of Flint, Mich., finishes with 1,832 career points, good for second in the Horned Frog annals.

Feb. 17, 2004

TCU crushes No. 10 Louisville, 71-46, before a national television audience.


Coach Neil Dougherty takes TCU, then in the Conference USA, to the National Invitation Tournament. The team loses to Maryland in the third round.


Jamie Dixon is inducted into the TCU Hall of Fame.

July 5, 2011

Tragedy hits the TCU basketball family when former coach Neil Dougherty dies of a heart attack at 50.

July 1, 2012

July 1, 2012

TCU joins the Big 12 Conference.

Feb. 6, 2013

Trent Johnson-coached TCU stuns fifth-ranked Kansas at home, notching its first Big 12 win and garnering the program’s first victory over a top five team.

Dec. 22, 2014

TCU is ranked nationally, at No. 25, for the first time since 1999.


Guard Kyan Anderson tops 1,000 career points. He is the sixth Frog to do so.

Dec. 20, 2015

The Frogs play their first game in Schollmaier Arena, beating Abilene Christian.

March 21, 2016

Jamie Dixon is hired as TCU’s 22nd basketball coach.

March 9, 2017

Desmond Bane sinks three last-second free throws, and the Frogs down No. 1 Kansas in the Big 12 tournament. It is the men’s program’s first win over a No. 1 team.

March 30, 2017

March 30, 2017

TCU wins the National Invitation Tournament, destroying Georgia Tech, 88-56, to grab the first postseason tournament victory since the program began in 1908.

Sources: and Richard Collier ’51
Photos: TCU Archives