Mean Green

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NCAAF North Texas Mean Green

General Information

  • NCAA Division: Division I
  • Conference: Conference USA (2013-present)
  • City: Denton, Texas
  • Stadium: Apogee Stadium

Championships:

  • National Championships: None
  • Conference Titles: 9 (1958, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1973, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004)
  • Divisional Championships: 1 (2017)

Past Conferences

  • Missouri Valley
  • Big West
  • Sun Belt

Team History

The North Texas Mean Green is a Division I program located in Denton, Texas. North Texas competes in Conference USA and is coached by Eric Morris.

North Texas has made 12 bowl games, most recently in 2022 when it went 7-7 and lost 35-32 to Boise State in the Frisco Bowl.

James Littrell, the team’s coach since 2016, was fired before the bowl. Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett filled in on an interim basis, and the school has since hired Morris. Littrell went 44-44 during his seven-year stint but was 0-5 in bowl appearances.

Morris won two Southland Conference Coach of the Year awards at Incarnate Word (2018-21) before becoming the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Washington State in 2022.

North Texas’ last winning season came in 2018 when it went 9-4. The year ended in bittersweet fashion, though, as the program lost 52-13 to Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl. It marked the second of three straight bowl appearances in which the Mean Green allowed 50 or more points.

The previous season, North Texas finished 7-1 in C-USA play to clinch a divisional championship. But the Mean Green lost in the C-USA title game to Florida Atlantic, 41-17.

Before joining C-USA in 2013, North Texas competed in the Sun Belt Conference. The Mean Green fared quite well there, winning four straight conference titles from 2001-04 under Darrell Dickey, the last three outright. They appeared each of those years in the New Orleans Bowl, going 1-3.

In 1982, due to mounting debt in the aftermath of coach Hayden Fry’s departure, North Texas demoted its program to Division I-AA (now known as the Football Championship Subdivision) status. With a deficit of $1.6 million, the school made the difficult decision to join the Southland Conference. During its first year in the conference in 1983, North Texas went 8-4 and captured the league title before falling in the I-AA quarterfinals to Nevada, 20-17 in overtime.

The school remained in the Southland until 1995 when it was in a much better position financially to move back to Division I-A (now known as the Football Bowl Subdivision). The Mean Green operated as an independent in 1995 and joined the Big West Conference the following season. They finished under .500 during all five years in the Big West (1996-00).

Next season, North Texas will be on the move again as it joins the American Athletic Conference. The Mean Green is one of six programs leaving C-USA, following Charlotte, FAU, Rice, UAB, and UTSA. Coming off three straight bowl appearances, the Mean Green figure is a favorite among oddsmakers.

Notably, North Texas has produced more than three dozen NFL draft picks, most famously Hall of Fame defensive lineman “Mean” Joe Greene. Greene, a 10-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro with the Pittsburgh Steelers played for North Texas from 1966-68. Greene was a consensus All-American in 1968. Greene’s number is now retired by the school, along with those of Abner Haynes, Ray Renfro, and Richard Gill.

The school’s alumni base also includes Miami Dolphins running back Jeff Wilson and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jaelon Darden.

All Time Records

Passing Yards

o Mason Fine: 12,505
o Derek Thompson: 7,427
o Austin Aune: 7,324
o Steve Ramsey: 7,076
o Scott Hall: 5,823

Rushing Yards

o Lance Dunbar: 4,224
o Patrick Cobbs: 3,911
o Jamario Thomas: 3,496
o Deandre Torrey: 3,228
o Jeffrey Wilson: 3,204

Receiving Yards

o Jaelon Darden: 2,782
o Johnny Quinn: 2,662
o Casey Fitzgerald: 2,533
o Ronnie Shanklin: 2,465
o Carlos Harris: 2,396

What is North Texas’ overall record in bowl games?

North Texas is just 2-13 in bowl games, with its only victories coming in the 2002 New Orleans Bowl (24-19 over Cincinnati) and 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl (36-14 UNLV). North Texas also won the 1946 Optimist Bowl, but because it was not an NCAA-sanctioned bowl game, it does not count toward its official record.

What is the worst season in North Texas program history?

There are a few to choose from, but we’ll go with the 2008 campaign, in which the Mean Green went 1-11 and allowed the most points per game (47.6) in the country. The team’s only victory was against Western Kentucky.

Who holds North Texas’ record for career touchdown runs?

Lance Dunbar rushed for a school-record 41 touchdowns from 2008-11. Dunbar, who also holds the school’s all-time rushing record (4.224 yards), was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2016. He saw time with multiple NFL teams from 2012-17.
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