North Texas Daily

McCarney fired as North Texas head football coach

McCarney fired as North Texas head football coach

McCarney fired as North Texas head football coach
October 10
20:20 2015

Scott Sidway | Sports Editor


The University of North Texas has parted ways with head football coach Dan McCarney in his fifth year with the program.

Athletic director Rick Villarreal made the announcement following the team’s 66-7 loss to Portland State University on homecoming, which is an NCAA record for largest margin of defeat by an FCS school of an FBS team.

The university will buy out a portion of McCarney’s roughly $3 million contract, but terms of the buyout were not disclosed.

“This football team has continued to struggle more and more each week in the last three or four weeks, and that started at the beginning of the season. At this point we’re just not in position where I feel like we are competitive in any phase of the game,” Villarreal said.

Villarreal said the decision has been in the works for the last two weeks after the Mean Green were blown out by Iowa University 62-16.

Since losing the home opener to Rice University on Sept. 26, North Texas has been outscored 177-37.

“You evaluate them game by game,” Villarreal said of his coaches. “As we looked across the board and looked at the situation a couple of weeks ago and looked at that performance and then against [Southern Miss] and again today in the same situation, I felt like the longer we let this go, the longer it would maybe manifest itself.”

Villarreal said he has not named an interim coach yet, and he will meet with coaches on Sunday to discuss how North Texas will move going forward.

McCarney said he had no idea the decision was coming and was approached by North Texas PR members, who told him “I love you Mac, but Rick wants to see you.” At that point, according to McCarney, the writing was on the wall.

“It was one of the greatest chapters in my career and my life, to be here at North Texas,” McCarney said. “I wish I could have done more this season obviously to show the fruits of everybody’s labor because everybody’s worked hard. Everybody’s really worked hard and put a lot into this thing.”

Having been in his fifth season at North Texas, the entirety of the locker room was tied to McCarney in some way. McCarney said having to part with so many people he has spent time with over his years at North Texas is the hardest pill to swallow.

“It’s really, really hard saying goodbye to people. It’s one of the toughest things to do,” McCarney said. “But when you have to say goodbye to guys – every player and every coach down there in that locker room is there because I brought them here. I OK’d them, I wanted them, I supported them, I recruited them, I brought them here. And when you have to part with them because we came up short and didn’t perform the way we wanted to, that’s really hard.”

McCarney said he’s proud of how much the culture has changed in his time at North Texas, even though he only produced one winning season on the field. Villarreal praised McCarney on his efforts to change the academic culture of the program.

“Coach McCarney has done an unbelievable job here, taking us to some of the highest points we’ve ever been,” Villarreal said.

McCarney reached his highest point with North Texas in 2013, leading the team to a Heart of Dallas Bowl championship victory.

Since then, McCarney has led the Mean Green to a 4-13 record, including a recent string of lopsided losses.

“It’s a little staggering to me that we’ve gone from that point to the point we’re at today,” Villarreal said

McCarney also said he has been shocked to see such a rapid decline in production and said it’s hard to put his finger on just one factor that went into his dismissal.

“When you come up short like this on the scoreboard and get off to the start we’ve had this season, it’s really disappointing and disheartening,” McCarney said. “I see how hard everybody works. There’s no loose ends. Everybody coaches their tails off. We’ve changed the whole atmosphere here obviously on gameday and with academic performance. Hopefully we changed these young men’s lives in a positive way.”

Villarreal did not confirm whether McCarney’s replacement would come from within or be an external hire. Regardless of where the next coach comes from, it will need to be a quick turn around with the Mean Green facing a short week before hosting Western Kentucky University on Thursday at Apogee Stadium.

On his way out, McCarney leaves North Texas with a 22-32 record in just over four years as head coach of the Mean Green.

“I can’t compliment Dan enough for all the great things he did for us,” Villarreal said. “At the end of the day, it comes down to production and winning football games. At this given time, we’re not doing that. Unfortunately, today was probably the epitome of that.”

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  1. UNT Alum '09
    UNT Alum '09 October 11, 03:17

    Why is Rick Villarreal still around? This man, while he may be a nice person, simply doesn’t seem to be seen as any part of the issue among any of our sports teams. I believe it’s time for a new AD.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Ben
    Ben October 11, 13:28

    3 Million Dollars?!? I wouldn’t buy out that contract, I would tell him to put on a hard hat and pick up a hammer and work on finishing the new student union for the rest of his employment. Shaking my head.

    Reply to this comment
  3. adam rinkleff
    adam rinkleff October 11, 22:54

    that football team has sucked for a long time

    Reply to this comment
  4. Rick Reidy
    Rick Reidy October 12, 01:52

    Dear Mean Green,
    Saturday’s game devastated us, and sadly, led to the loss of a fine coach. We may be tempted to hang our heads, but we need to support Coach Canales and our team on Thursday night. To become a great university, we must help those of us who are down and be proud of our school regardless of the score. I am certain that Western Kentucky is expecting a subdued crowd and a dispirited team. We should show the Hilltoppers that we are not done. I urge all of us, students, faculty, and staff, to come to the game, wear your green, and yell your hearts out when WKU is on offense. This is OUR team and OUR stadium—we are the MEAN GREEN.
    Rick Reidy

    Reply to this comment

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