Spencer, Hall lead UNT Athletic Hall of Fame class

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Scott Hall and Cody Spencer watched over the last few years as several of their teammates from North Texas’ four straight Sun Belt Conference title teams were inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

The pair of cornerstones from those teams will join the club Saturday during UNT’s annual induction luncheon before the Mean Green’s spring game at Apogee Stadium. Hall, one of most productive quarterbacks in UNT history, and Spencer, an elite linebacker who played in the NFL, will highlight a class that also includes Jim Cooper, Heather Hutyra, Corky Nelson and Fred McCain Award winner Ernie Kuehne.

Cooper was an All-America offensive linemen in the 1940s and Hutyra a soccer star in the 2000s. Nelson coached the UNT football team from 1982-90.

Kuehne, a booster and former member of the track team who has given millions to the athletic department, will be honored for his contributions as a booster.

“It will be a special day,” Hall said. “It will be about the past. We will get to reflect and tell all those stories again. The fans who come out will get to reminisce.”

There will be plenty to remember for Hall and Spencer.

UNT captured four straight Sun Belt titles from 2001-04, won 26 straight conference games and beat Cincinnati in the 2002 New Orleans Bowl.

Hall threw for 5,975 yards and 50 touchdowns despite playing in a run-first offense that featured national rushing champions Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas. He was named first-team All-Sun Belt in 2003 and was a second-team pick in 2004.

Hall is the last UNT quarterback to be selected to an all-conference first or second team.

Spencer was a three-time All-Sun Belt selection from 2001-03 and was named to the first team in each of his final two seasons with the Mean Green.

He also holds the honor of being the last UNT player selected in the NFL draft. The Oakland Raiders selected Spencer in the sixth round in 2004.

Spencer went fishing with brother Jeremy Sanders after tiring of waiting to hear his name. The Raiders called a short time later.

“I’m excited to be an Oakland Raider, that’s for sure,” Spencer said that day. “They made it sound like they really wanted to pick me.”

Former UNT head coach Darrell Dickey expressed confidence in Spencer’s future immediately after he was drafted.

“He brings a lot to the table,” Dickey said. “I am confident he will be a good pro player.”

Spencer turned out to be just that, playing five seasons with the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets before joining the coaching staff at Texarkana Texas High School, where he is the special teams coordinator and linebackers coach.

Spencer and Hall, who is in the lumber business, will join a quickly expanding roster of players from those Sun Belt title teams in the Hall of Fame. The group includes Cobbs, Thomas, Brandon Kennedy, Johnny Quinn, Brad Kassell and Kevin Galbreath.

“We have all gone in pretty quickly compared to some of the guys who have waited 20 or 30 years,” Hall said of his teammates.

Seeing their names added to the UNT Athletic Hall of Fame just a few years after their careers will be special for Hall and Spencer.

“It’s neat being put in with Cody,” Hall said. “We are still good friends. It’s a special deal. Both of us are looking forward to it.”

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.


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