The more time Dan McCarney spent with Tommy Perry at the American Football Coaches Association convention recently, the more comfortable North Texas’ head coach became with the idea of adding the former Texas A&M player to his staff.
UNT officially announced that Perry is joining the staff Wednesday, when McCarney made two other adjustments to the Mean Green’s coaching lineup.
Perry will coach UNT’s running backs in addition to serving as the Mean Green’s special teams coordinator.
Mike Grant will coach UNT’s wide receivers after spending the last two years coaching running backs. Assistant head coach Nick Quartaro will coach UNT’s tight ends next season after two seasons coaching receivers.
The moves will help fill the void left when Kent Riddle left his position as UNT’s tight ends coach and special teams coordinator to become the assistant head coach at Arkansas State.
“He really rose to the top,” McCarney said of Perry. “I had never met him and spent a lot of time with him down in Nashville. Every coach I talked to about him kept mentioning his character. He has a great Texas background, having played at Tyler Junior College and at A&M. I talked to [former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum]. People I respect had good things to say about him.”
Perry’s wife, Angela, is expecting the couple’s second child in the next few days. He is expected to move to the area shortly after the birth and will be with UNT’s staff by the beginning of spring practice in March.
“I’m glad that a good friend and coach has the chance to move on to a position that is an hour from his home,” South Alabama coach Joey Jones said in a statement. “Tommy has been an integral part of building our program.”
While Perry has yet to arrive at UNT, he has made an impression on McCarney.
“He sends me ideas every day, his thoughts about how to do things,” McCarney said. “He’s highly organized.”
Before landing at USA, Perry worked as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M-Commerce under current UNT director of football operations Scotty Conley.
McCarney said Conley also recommended Perry, who will join what will be a reconstituted staff. The adjustments in coaching assignments are ones McCarney says will help UNT improve, especially on offense.
The Mean Green averaged 20.9 points per game in 2012 and finished 4-8.
Grant coached wide receivers in each of his previous four coaching stops — Western Michigan, Southern Mississippi, Iowa State and James Madison. Quartaro coached tight ends at Kansas State from 1989-94.
UNT offensive coordinator Mike Canales will continue to call plays. The longtime offensive coordinator has led UNT to some of its best offensive outings in recent years, including a 59-7 win over Middle Tennessee at the end of the 2011 season and a 49-41 loss to Kansas State in 2010.
McCarney said after this past season that he wanted to find a way to help UNT improve offensively and is confident his new coaching lineup will help the Mean Green reach that goal.
“You stand back and take a look at everything,” McCarney said. “I feel really good about this. These guys have been very successful coaching the positions they will be coaching next season.”
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870. His e-mail address is email@example.com .