North Texas Daily

Baseball could be coming back to Denton

Baseball could be coming back to Denton

April 01
22:10 2013

It’s not official, but it is definitely in the works – the Mean Green is planning on bringing baseball back to UNT and the first season could start as soon as spring 2015.

Baseball was chosen after much deliberation, and was picked in hopes of drawing more attention to the athletic program and answering the many requests for a baseball team.

“It isn’t official yet,” said Eric Capper, senior associate athletic director. “I would say we’ve put a lot of effort, time, money and resources into the feasibility study.”

The last UNT baseball team played from 1984 to 1988, but the team, along with men’s soccer, was cut due to the impending Title IX.

The athletic department was undergoing budget cuts and had to accommodate the Title IX requirements of gender equality funded by the university. The athletic department was also not receiving much help from the UNT administration.

“There weren’t a lot of resources put into athletics,” Capper said. “It just wasn’t important for the administration at the university to continue to subsidize a program that was not really successful at the time.”

Baseball was chosen because the athletic department currently showcases many fall sports but is lacking in the spring. The growing amount of baseball talent coming from the local and metroplex high schools also affected the decision.

“I think a university such as North Texas would benefit greatly in being able to pull from that pool of talent,” said Glen Harrison, head baseball coach for Denton High School. “If the kids see UNT is building a top-notch program they will be drawn to that.”

The athletics department is hoping the team will be successful competing in Conference USA. Last season, the C-USA was ranked No. 5 of the national conferences in baseball with teams like Rice University and Old Dominion University.

If approved, construction of a baseball stadium would take place next to Lovelace softball stadium. To finance the project, all funds will be raised from donors – mostly UNT alumni – and no money will be cut from other athletic programs, Capper said.

To meet the anticipated 2015 start date, a new coach will need to be hired in the next few months for recruitment, Capper said.  The coach will pick the players, and Capper said he hopes he will pull some from the UNT club team and other local teams.

“That would be amazing to be a part of the first team to come back to UNT,” said sophomore Joshua Dickerson, member of the UNT club baseball team. “I think it would be a fantastic opportunity for everyone up here.”

UNT would be required to add a women’s sport team in accordance with Title IX. So far, options such as sand volleyball and bowling have been discussed.

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