From the moment he arrived at North Texas in November 2010, Dan McCarney has brought legitimacy to North Texas. The new stadium helped, but North Texas was going to be a winner because he said it would happen. And through not much else than the sheer force of his unrelenting positivity, that’s exactly what has happened.
North Texas won four consecutive Sun Belt championships from 2001-04, losing their first game as Sun Belt memebers and then ripping off 26 consecutive conference wins. Then, as quickly as it arrived, North Texas’ momentum was gone. The Mean Green went a combined 11-55 over the final two seasons of the Darrell Dickey era and four seasons under Todd Dodge.
McCarney was hired to pick up the pieces.
North Texas won nine games in McCarney’s first two seasons, then broke through with a 9-4 season in 2013, winning the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and could have had a shot at the Conference USA title if not for a bizarre meltdown at home versus UTSA.
This season, though, has been a backslide. The Mean Green are 2-4 with blowout wins over winless SMU and winless Nicholls State, and blowout losses to Texas, Louisiana Tech, Indiana and UAB. Following the graduation of quarterback Derek Thompson, North Texas ranks 111th in total offense and 107th in yards per play.
At his weekly press conference Monday, McCarney broke from his default positivity to display some negativity? frustration? discouragement? realism? all of the above?
“This isn’t the easiest place in the world to recruit to. This isn’t the easiest place in the world when you have a track record and a lot of years of losing. Just because you put up some cement and some bigger stands, that doesn’t make it easy.
“It will take some time and has taken some time for young men in the state of Texas to take us seriously as a football program in Division I. We have phenomenal academics, but are they really a factor in football? Can you really achieve all your dreams and goals at North Texas in football?
“Along with all these other schools in Texas, 12 in Division I, everyone comes down here to recruit. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but is the job tougher than I thought it was going to be — and have I been in some really tough situations? Hell, yes. No question.
“When some of these young men and their coaches turn their backs on you when you first get here and won’t give you the time of day — it takes time to break down those barriers, open those doors and get them to say, ‘This can be a hell of a place. This can be a great place.’
“Now we are slowly but surely getting there. Did it happen fast because I came in wearing some big ass ring from Florida or because some people respected what I did at Iowa State?
“No. It’s still North Texas.
“This is a place that has been down for a long time, a long time. It has been a process, a hard process that has taken its toll on all of us, but we love winning. That is why we are here. I respect winning. I respect this university with all my heart and I have worked harder than I ever have in this profession to right this ship and turn this thing around so that we can have some success this year.”
(via Denton Record-Chronicle)