John Hedlund has witnessed the growth of North Texas athletics — not to mention played in a big part in it — during his tenure as the school’s soccer coach.
Hedlund has taken UNT to three NCAA tournaments and couldn’t help but laugh when he considered where his career stands heading into his 20th season as the Mean Green’s head coach this fall.
“I guess I will be Mean Green forever,” Hedlund said.
That certainly looks like it will be the case after Hedlund signed a contract in the offseason that runs through the 2018 season. The deal includes a raise of $10,000 a year that will take effect on Sept. 1, pushing his salary to $70,000 a year.
Hedlund is one of several UNT coaches who will have new contracts in place when the school opens the fall sports season in a few weeks. Each returning member of the UNT football team’s coaching staff signed new contracts after last season, pushing the total compensation for UNT’s assistant coaches to just over $1.32 million. The original salary pool for UNT assistants in head coach Dan McCarney’s first season at the school in 2011 was $1.19 million.
“I feel good about it because this is where I want to be,” Hedlund said. “Especially with the move to Conference USA, we are getting some of the very best players to come out of Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas. We have the facilities and resources that we need, and we are winning.”
UNT has never had a losing season under Hedlund and last year advanced to the C-USA tournament final, where the Mean Green fell to Colorado College. UNT advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2004, 2005 and 2012.
Hedlund started the program from scratch in 1995, when the Mean Green played on what amounted to a recreation-level field, and built it into the school’s most consistently successful program.
“John has had success, beaten nationally ranked teams and teams in the Big 12,” athletic director Rick Villarreal said when he looked back on UNT’s first season in C-USA earlier this year. “Going into the season, if you’d asked which teams would do well, one of the first teams out of my mouth would have been soccer. John is a good recruiter, we have a good recruiting base and a good place to recruit, too. His teams will only get stronger.”
Hedlund will have additional security while trying to build the program after signing his new deal.
UNT’s football coaches will also be compensated at a higher level next season after leading the Mean Green to a breakout 9-4 campaign capped by a win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
UNT announced after the bowl game that McCarney had signed a five-year contract.
McCarney will make $600,000 a year in base salary with guaranteed incentives that will push his compensation to $725,000 under terms of the deal that runs through the 2018 season. There are additional incentives that could push its value past $850,000 a year.
“I feel good about it,” McCarney said shortly after signing the deal. “It provides stability and continuity and shows loyalty. It’s a sign that the culture here has changed, that people are proud of it and want more of it.”
McCarney’s assistant coaches who returned received new contracts as well that increased the pool of money provided to assistant coaches by 11 percent. UNT offensive coordinator Mike Canales and defensive coordinator John Skladany will each make $190,000 and will be the highest paid of the team’s assistant coaches. The rest of UNT’s assistants will be paid between $70,000 and $155,000.
The contracts for UNT’s assistant football coaches were approved by new school President Neal Smatresk on March 6. UNT announced that McCarney had signed his deal on March 20.
Both the UNT football and soccer teams soon will turn their attention to building on standout debut seasons in C-USA. The UNT soccer team will open the season on Aug. 22, when the Mean Green plays host to Texas Southern.
The UNT football team heads to Austin a few days later to face Texas in its opener on Aug. 30.
Three UNT athletes — Franziska Sprinkmeyer (tennis), Tom Kalisky (track) and Krista Rossum (swimming) — were among C-USA’s Scholar Athlete of the Year honorees named Wednesday. The award is presented to the top student-athletes in each conference-sponsored sport on the basis of academic achievement, athletic achievement and service.
BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.
North Texas football contracts
The following are the salary figures for UNT’s football coaches heading into the 2014 season:
Coach Position Salary
Dan McCarney Head coach $725,000*
Mike Canales Offensive coordinator $190,000
John Skladany Defensive coordinator $190,000
Nick Quartaro Tight ends $155,000
Mike Grant Wide receivers/recruiting coordinator $123,000
Mike Simmonds Offensive line $120,000
Tommy Perry Special teams/running backs $115,000
Frank Wintrich Strength coach $103,000
Perry Carter Safeties $100,000
Kevin Patrick Defensive line $85,000
Scotty Conley Operations $73,000
LaMarcus Hicks Cornerbacks $70,000
*Base and guaranteed incentives; other incentives could push the value of the deal to $850,000 a year.