Fourth in a series examining incoming members of the AAC
Effective July1, the American Athletic Conference will undergo an extreme makeover.
Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston leave the AAC for the Big 12. The Knights, Bearcats and Cougars have been powerhouses in the American.
The departing institutions have all had their moments on the national stage, bringing recognition and revenue to the Group of Five’s premier league.
Cincinnati made the College Football Playoff 2021. Houston has been ranked No. 1 in basketball this season. UCF was unbeaten in football in 2017.
What the AAC will lose in terms of quality, it will make up for with quantity as six teams from Conference USA will be joining the conference East Carolina has called home since 2014.
Alabama-Birmingham, Charlotte and Florida Atlantic have already been presented in this series. The pending members that remain include three schools from Texas — North Texas, Rice and Texas-San Antonio.
The origin of North Texas is similar to that of ECU in that it started as a teacher’s training college and has progressed to a university that offers instruction in a multitude of fields.
Know the foe: North Texas Mean Green
What is now the University of North Texas began as Texas Normal College and Teacher Training Institute in 1890.
The name changed to North Texas Normal College in 1894.
From 1901 to 1923, the institution was known as North Texas State Normal College.
The campus in Denton, TX, was called North Texas State Teachers College from 1923 to 1949. The name was shortened to North Texas State College in 1949.
The transition to university status took place in 1961. The name was North Texas State University until 1988, when State was dropped.
North Texas system
The North Texas University system also has locations in Dallas, Fort Worth and Frisco.
Frisco, coincidentally, is where James Madison won the Football Championship Subdivision title in 2017 with a 28-14 victory over Youngstown State when Pirates coach Mike Houston was directing the Dukes.
There were 32,596 undergraduates in the fall of 2021 and 9,776 postgraduates.
Denton is located about 40 miles northwest of Dallas.
The driving distance from Greenville, NC, to Denton is 1,300 miles. Driving time is 18 hours, five minutes.
North Texas has had an eagle for a mascot since 1922.
The mascot’s nickname is Scrappy.
School colors are green and white.
North Texas teams are nicknamed Mean Green.
The nickname developed when the 1966 football team was second nationally in rush defense.
Defensive tackle “Mean” Joe Greene, a four-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers, was a sophomore on the 1966 team.
The Mean Green has a Spirit Bell mounted on a wagon that is rung at football games to rally fans.
UNT has a bonfire on Fridays before Homecoming games.
Boomer is a cannon that is fired at football games.
The Mean Green Machine is a 1931 Ford Model A sedan driven at football games.
The Mean Green fired Seth Littrell as football coach on Dec. 4 despite playing for the C-USA championship against Texas-San Antonio two nights earlier, a 48-27 loss to the Roadrunners.
Littrell was 44-44 at UNT with six bowl trips.
The Men Green finished 7-7 in 2022 with a 35-32 loss to Boise State on Dec. 17 in the Frisco Bowl.
Former Texas Tech player and assistant coach Eric Morris was named coach after the bowl loss. He is credited with recruiting quarterback Patrick Mahomes to the Red Raiders.
Mean Green quarterback Austin Aune entered the transfer portal after passing for 2,534 yards and 33 touchdowns in 2022.
UNT was dealt losses by AAC teams Southern Methodist (48-10, Sept. 3) and Memphis (44-34, Sept. 24) last season.
ECU has met the Mean Green just once on the gridiron, a 49-16 Pirates victory in Greenville on Nov. 17, 1979.
The UNT football facility, Apogee Stadium, opened with a 48-23 loss to Houston on Sept. 10, 2011.
The structure seats 30,850.
The Mean Green is 18-5 overall and in second place behind Florida Atlantic with a 9-3 record in C-USA in 2022-23.
UNT has been to the NCAA Tournament in 1987, 2007, 2010 and 2021.
As a No. 13 seed, the Mean Green stunned No. 4 Purdue, 78-69, in overtime in the first round in 2022 for UNT’s first NCAA Tournament victory.
The Mean Green’s home arena, nicknamed the Super Pit, seats 9.797.
Senior guard Tyler Perry leads the current team with a 17.5 scoring average.
Former Baylor point guard Grant McCasland has been coach at UNT since 2017.
North Texas has not had a baseball program since the 1988 team went 14-38.
Actor Joe Don Baker (Walking Tall) and entertainer Pat Boone are among famous North Texas alumni.