Football: UNT coaches discuss future

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Dan McCarney has seen just about everything there is to see in college football from his time as an assistant at Iowa to his tenure as the head coach at Iowa State to the time he spent as an assistant at Florida.

What he encountered on Tuesday was just the latest in a series of fresh experiences at his new home at North Texas.

And he loved every minute of it.

UNT's new head football coach was one of a series of coaches and athletic department officials who spoke in front of a crowd of more than 100 at the first stop on the Mean Green Club's 2011 Coaches Caravan at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Denton.

McCarney was hired following last season to inject some life into UNT's struggling football program.

The tour that will continue with four more stops in the Dallas area over the next two weeks where he will have a chance to speak.

"I loved it," McCarney said. "The fans are so unbelievable here. They are the reason I am so excited to take this job. They are here, excited and proud to get this going. It's pretty special."

The caravan also served as one in a series of promotional events leading into the school officially opening its new football stadium this fall. UNT will face Houston in its first game at the new venue that will seat more than 30,000 on Sept. 10.

The school is still in the process of selling club level seats for the stadium and having those who have already purchased seats pick out their exact location.

UNT athletic director Rick Villarreal updated the countdown until that first home game - 19 weeks and four days - and then spoke of what he sees as all the positives that are happening within the school's athletic department.

UNT men's golf coach Brad Stracke spoke about the progress of his team that was invited to the NCAA regionals this week, while men's basketball coach Johnny Jones talked about another solid season for his team and the promise of a bright future.

UNT just missed advancing to the NCAA tournament for the third time in five seasons when the Mean Green fell in the Sun Belt Conference finals. UNT lost several key players from that team but will bring in one of the most decorated recruiting classes in school history next season that will include Tony Mitchell and Jordan Williams.

Mitchell was a consensus top 25 recruit nationally in the class of 2010, while Williams is a consensus top 150 recruit in the Class of 2011.

Villarreal believes all three coaches and their teams are part of a bright future for UNT, one several dozen fans and boosters gathered to celebrate.

"We had a great crowd that stayed through the whole thing and is excited about everything that is going on," Villarreal said. "If you can't get excited about the university and the athletic program right now, you probably never can. From what is going on with our golf teams to our new coaching hires to what Johnny Jones brings, it's pretty special."

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is .


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