Gary Patterson staying at TCU as long as he has is as much about luck as it is about loyalty. Let's go year-by-year here:
2001 -- In Patterson's first year, he follows up a conference championship run by going 6-6 with a loss in the GalleryFurniture.com Bowl. Nobody would have wanted him.
2002 -- He wins the C-USA title and Liberty Bowl, but again, he went 6-6 the previous year. His career record is 16-8; hardly world-beating, especially given that he inherited a conference champion.
2003 -- Only four AQ jobs come open, and one of them is Duke -- at that point, the worst team in all of college football. Nebraska goes with former Raiders coach Bill Callahan.
2004 -- Patterson goes 5-6, missing a bowl game. Not exactly the kind of record you want to sell to your fanbase.
2005 -- Only 4 AQ jobs come open. For various reasons, all choose to pass on the TCU coach.
2006 -- TCU goes 10-2. Only 4 AQ jobs open, and none of them are in Texas.
2007 -- TCU goes 7-5, and falls to 5th in a bad MWC. Baylor hires Art Briles, who, at this point, has a better resume (though not a better record) over the last 3 years.
2008 -- Gary Patterson agrees to a contract with Kansas State, only for the deal to fall apart at the 11th hour.
2009 -- TCU makes their first BCS Bowl, 9 years into Patterson's tenure. 10 months later, TCU accepts an invite to the Big East. It's reasonable to assume Patterson would have known this was going to happen.
Gary Patterson wasn't Gary Freakin' Patterson until TCU was about ready to accept an invite to the Big East. Early in his career, he had a couple of black marks on his record that might have gotten him fired at a school like today's UH -- how would this board react if Applewhite went 6-5 this year and lost the bowl game?