Bill Carrico watched his name pop up on the list of the best players to ever pull on a North Texas jersey along with some of the Mean Green’s stars of a more recent vintage like Patrick Cobbs on Saturday.
Carrico played more than 50 years ago, while Cobbs was on the field for the Mean Green back in 2005.
The range of ages and background when UNT released its All-Century Team at Apogee Stadium stood out to Carrico, who established himself as one of UNT’s all-time greats in the late 1950s.
“It’s a great honor,” Carrico said. “There are so many good players who were not included. The players my age played at 6-foot, 220. Now they are 6-8, 300.”
There were plenty of players who fit both profiles among the 27 people included on the team.
Defensive tackle Joe Greene, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and widely considered one of the greatest players in the history of the game, Abner Haynes, a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, and All-Pro offensive lineman Brian Waters were among the notable players on the roster.
More than 11,000 votes were cast online for the team over the course of several weeks before a committee of UNT officials selected the final roster.
“It’s important to me,” former UNT linebacker Cody Spencer said. “To be able to tell my kids that I was on the team when you look back at all the great players who have played here. It makes you appreciate all the hard work it took.”
Haynes faced perhaps the biggest challenge of all among the players selected for the All-Century Team. The Dallas native joined Leon King in breaking the color barrier at the school in 1956.
Haynes was among several members of the team who attended an induction ceremony before UNT’s spring game and had a chance to reflect on their time at the school.
Great players from several eras in program history were honored. Odus Mitchell, who was named UNT’s All-Century coach, began his career at UNT in 1946, while other members of the team finished their careers just a few years ago.
Several members of UNT’s teams that won four consecutive Sun Belt Conference championships, beginning in 2001, were named to the team and attended the ceremony.
Defensive lineman Brandon Kennedy was on hand to not only be honored as a member of the All-Century Team, but also to be inducted into UNT’s Hall of Fame as a member of the 2012 class.
Each member of the All-Century Team has a unique story, including Brewster. The former Midland Lee standout didn’t sign with the Mean Green until the summer after his senior year.
“I was basically a walk-on here and was undersized,” said Brewster, who weighed 230 pounds when he arrived at UNT. “I had an uphill battle, but came in with a great class of guys that bonded together and won lots of games and got to a few bowl games. It was a great opportunity and I took advantage of it.
“There were only five offensive linemen picked in 100 years. To be honored like that is big.”
Wide receiver Johnny Quinn also attended the ceremony after being selected to the team. Quinn played with Brewster on UNT’s Sun Belt championship teams that won four straight titles, beginning in 2001.
“It’s cool to be on the All-Century Team,” Quinn said. “It’s a testament to how good our team was as a whole.”
Those players had a chance to meet with players who were stars decades before as UNT honored the best players in the 100th year in program history.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 or via Twitter at @brettvito
NORTH TEXAS ALL-CENTURY FOOTBALL TEAM
Steve Ramsey (1967-69)
A three-time all-Missouri Valley Conference pick, set NCAA records in nine passing categories and broke UNT records for passing yards in a game, season and career before playing in the East-West Shrine Game and the Hula Bowl.
Patrick Cobbs (2001-05)
Led the nation in rushing in 2003 when he finished with 1,680 yards and finished his career as UNT’s all-time leader in rushing yards (4,050), rushing touchdowns (36) and all-purpose yards (5,255).
Abner Haynes (1957-59)
A two-time all-Missouri Valley Conference selection who ranked seventh in the nation in rushing with 730 yards and fifth in scoring with 14 touchdowns in 1959 when he led UNT to the Sun Bowl and was named an All-American by Time Magazine.
Ray Renfro (1948-51)
Rushed for 1,556 yards in the final three years of his career and was a first-team All-Gulf Coast Conference selection in 1951.
Johnny Quinn (2003-06)
UNT’s all-time leading receiver with 2,718 yards and a three-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection from 2004-06, ranks second in school history with 3,835 career all-purpose yards.
Ron Shanklin (1967-69)
A two-time all-Missouri Valley Conference receiver in 1967 and 1969 was the school’s all-time career leader in receiving yards with 2,465 for more than 20 years.
Brian Waters (1995-98)
A tight end and defensive lineman from 1995-98, was an All-Big West Conference selection as a senior who became the first NFL offensive lineman to be named the league’s Player of the Week and one of the best offensive linemen of his era.
Scott Bowles (1987-90)
A two-time first-team All-Southland Conference selection in 1987 and 1988 when UNT won 15 games and advanced to the Division I-AA playoffs.
Andy Brewster (2001-04)
The anchor of UNT’s offensive line during its run of four straight Sun Belt Conference titles and New Orleans Bowl berths was a first-team all-league pick in 2003 and 2004.
Bill Carrico (1958-59)
Two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection helped lead UNT to the league title in 1958 and a share of it in 1959, when he was a Williamson All-American.
Glen Holloway (1967-69)
A two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference pick played in the East-West Shrine Game, Blue-Gray Game and the Senior Bowl before being drafted by the Chicago Bears in 1970 and starting for five straight seasons.
Willie Parker (1969-70)
A second-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection in 1969, when UNT finished 7-3.
Iseed Khoury (1975-77)
Set the UNT record for the longest field goal with a 62-yarder against Richmond in 1977, hit all but one of his 70 extra point attempts, including 60 in a row, and made 26 career field goals.
Walter Chapman (1973-77)
Named a third-team All-American by Football News and honorable mention All-American by Associated Press in 1977, when he received Lineman of the Week honors from the Associated Press after registering 14 tackles (including nine for lost yardage) in a 28-0 victory over Houston.
Joe Greene (1966-68)
Arguably the best defensive lineman in the history of college and professional football was a consensus first-team All-American in 1968 before going on to be a 10-time Pro Bowl selection with the Pittsburgh Steelers and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Cedrick Hardman (1968-69)
Recorded 38 sacks in 10 games as a senior, including an 11-sack performance against Tulsa, and earned All-Missouri Valley Conference honors before named the Defensive MVP in the Blue-Gray Game and the Senior Bowl.
Brandon Kennedy (2000-03)
The 2002 and 2003 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and a three-time first-team all-conference player from 2001-03 ranked third nationally with 24 tackles for a loss in 2002 when he was named a third team All-American by the College Football News.
Byron Gross (1987-90)
A four-time All-Southland Conference selection and I-AA All-American in 1990 piled up 387 career tackles, a total that ranks second in UNT history.
Brad Kassell (1998-01)
Posted 365 career tackles and helped lead UNT to the New Orleans Bowl in 2001, when he was the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year, before going on to a long NFL career.
Cody Spencer (2000-03)
A three-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection who led UNT in tackles in 2001 and 2003 before being the last Mean Green player to be drafted after being selected by the Los Angeles Raiders in 2004.
Burks Washington (1975-78)
Posted a school-record 390 tackles, including a record 160 tackles in 1977 before being named was a preseason All-America candidate in 1978.
Bill Brashier (1949-51)
Intercepted 19 passes in his career, including 10 in 1951 season, before working as an assistant coach at UNT under Rod Rust and Hayden Fry, who he followed to Iowa, where he worked for 17 seasons.
Jonas Buckles (2001-04)
Intercepted 11 passes in his career and was a four-time All-Sun Belt Conference selection while leading UNT to four straight conference titles.
Leonard Dunlap (1969-70)
Intercepted three passes in a game twice in the 1969 season and finished with 13 in his career that was highlighted with a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection in 1970.
J.T. Smith (1974-77)
Gained more than 1,000 yards in punt returns, interceptions and kickoff returns and tied a UNT record with a 100-yard interception return before going on to play 13 years in the NFL.
John Baker (1997-99)
Led UNT in punting and was an All-Big West selection in three consecutive seasons.
Abner Haynes (1957-59)
Led UNT in kickoff return average in 1958 (20.2 yards) and 1959 (25.3 yards) and punt return average in three straight seasons starting in 1957, when he averaged 39.3 yards on four returns.