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Football: McCarney adds two former NFL players to defensive staff

Profile image for By Brett Vito
By Brett Vito

North Texas head coach Dan McCarney added a pair of assistants with NFL backgrounds to his staff Thursday, when the school officially announced that Perry Carter and LaMarcus Hicks had joined the Mean Green.

Carter spent the past eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Houston Texans and played for the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders.

Hicks played two seasons for the Detroit Lions after playing for McCarney at Iowa State. Hicks was the defensive backs coach last season at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The most important thing is to get the right fits and get guys who can teach, recruit and mentor,” McCarney said. “It’s not a big deal to me where guys come from. Teaching and coaching is the same at every level. They are excited about the recruiting aspect of it. We want to bring guys in who are motivated to play on Sundays. These guys can help us do that.”

The addition of Carter and Hicks completes a near overhaul of UNT’s defensive coaching staff since a breakout season for the Mean Green. UNT finished 9-4 and beat UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Jan. 1 — just the third bowl win in school history in the Mean Green’s first bowl appearance since 2004.

Defensive line coach Mike Nelson retired shortly after the bowl win and was replaced by Kevin Patrick, a former South Florida assistant coach.

UNT then lost both of its secondary coaches to other programs. Cornerbacks coach Ryan Walters left to join the staff at Memphis, while safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Noah Joseph joined the staff at Indiana.

More than 300 coaches applied for UNT’s openings. McCarney said that both Carter and Hicks wowed him and defensive coordinator John Skladany in the interview process and will help the Mean Green continue to build its program.

Carter last coached at the college level in 2004 at Texas A&M-Commerce under Scotty Conley, who just finished his fifth season as UNT’s director of football operations.

Hicks earned first-team All-Big 12 honors in 2005 before his two-year stint with the Lions. He landed his first college coaching job at Rhodes College in 2010 and coached for two years at Taylor (Mich.) Truman High School before returning to the college level at Concordia.

McCarney made one final adjustment to his staff after adding his new coaches, naming wide receivers coach Mike Grant as his recruiting coordinator.

“When you lose good coaches, you have to replace them with the same type of coaches,” McCarney said. “We felt like we were able to do that.”