By: Deb Cantrell
It happened fast, and now, it's official — Jeremiah Donati is TCU's new athletics director.
TCU made the official announcement Monday afternoon, just two days after former athletics director Chris Del Conte announced he would leave the university to become vice president of intercollegiate athletics at the University of Texas. Donati has been with TCU since 2011, first serving as a Frog Club gift officer before being promoted to executive director of the program. He became associate vice chancellor for athletic development and associate athletics director in 2013, then in 2016, was named deputy athletics director under Del Conte.
Donati has big shoes to fill — Del Conte's nearly nine-year tenure saw TCU enter the Big 12, as well as complete more than $300 million in construction projects of athletic facilities, including the $164 million renovation of Amon G. Carter Stadium in 2012 and $75 million renovation of the school’s basketball facility, now known as the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena, in 2015.
And while Donati says his practices may be similar to Del Conte's, Donati won't be exactly like his predecessor.
"There's only one Chris. There's only one Jeremiah Donati ... Chris and I are very different," Donati said. "We have a lot in common. We have a lot of similarities. You'll see that in a lot of our business practices. But I need to be my own me, and I will."
His first priority, he says, will be completing the fundraising for the $100 million expansion of the east side of Amon G. Carter Stadium. His first days in the new role will also be spent meeting with teams, coaches and staff to determine ways to make the athletic programs better.
"There are a lot of things that Chris started that, of course, we're going to continue," Donati said. "He is an outstanding athletics director. It would be silly to come in here to think this is a rebuild or a place you need to tear down and start over. There are a lot of great things going on right now, so it's up to me to maintain the momentum."
Del Conte announced his departure Saturday, tweeting: “It has been an honor and pleasure to work for Texas Christian University for the last nine years, and I am indebted to every Horned Frog for allowing me to serve you. My family and I have enjoyed every moment of being part of this wonderful campus and the Fort Worth community. Unquestionably, our experiences here will forever hold a special place in our hearts.”
Del Conte had become somewhat of an icon while at TCU, engaging with fans on Twitter and garnering attention for his distinctive, purple-laden wardrobe. While Donati says he "probably won't be as avid of a Tweeter," he will carry on the tradition of purple ties — to an extent.
"I myself have a lot of purple ties," he said. "Not as many as Chris, but a lot."
By: Deb Cantrell