North Texas Daily

COLUMN: Littrell will be on the hot seat next season if his team does not improve

COLUMN: Littrell will be on the hot seat next season if his team does not improve

COLUMN: Littrell will be on the hot seat next season if his team does not improve
October 09
20:54 2020

When Seth Littrell was hired by North Texas in 2015, the athletic department had high hopes for him and the impact he could have on the football program. However, Littrell’s time in Denton could be nearing an end if the Mean Green are unable to find their stride again under his coaching.

Coming off a 1-11 season in 2015, the Mean Green were in desperate need of a figure who could lead their football program out of the inconsistent ditch that they had been in for years. North Texas had just one winning season over the past decade and had gone through three different head coaches. After firing Dan McCarney in 2015, North Texas hired former University of North Carolina assistant head coach Littrell.

With the help of Athletic Director and Vice President Wren Baker, Littrell was able to turn the Mean Green into a force to be reckoned with in Conference USA. 

The Mean Green won four more games than the previous season in Littrell’s first year in Denton. The team continued to improve under Littrell, posting back-to-back nine-win seasons for the first time in program history since 1977.

Seth Littrell even began to receive national attention, becoming one of the most sought after coaches prior to signing an extension with the Mean Green just last year. His $1.35 million extension made him the second-highest paid coach in the Group of Five, and the most valuable head coach in C-USA.

Mean Green fans were loving the Littrell era in Denton and had not looked back since — until last year.

After posting back-to-back nine-win seasons and even receiving some recognition in The Associated Press’ Top 25 poll in 2017, North Texas took a big step in the wrong direction in 2019, finishing with a record of just 4-8. This was Littrell’s worst season in Denton, and many fans began to question what went wrong after the sky was seemingly the limit.

Many fingers were pointed towards Littrell’s lackluster coaching staff he put together heading into the 2019 season. Fans believed Littrell was simply not doing enough to motivate and coach the players inside the locker room as well. After all, the university did give Littrell an extra $150,000 so he could stand on the sideline and not coach.

For the 2020 season, all eyes are on Littrell, who is now not only the head coach of the Mean Green, but the offensive play-caller and quarterbacks coach as well. 

I personally believe that Littrell will be on the hot seat after this season if the Mean Green is unable to improve off their 4-8 season. 

This is a North Texas football program that has been trending upwards ever since his arrival in Denton, athletics continues to be more of a priority for the university than ever before. 

With this trend, I find it hard to believe that North Texas would stick with a coach who the team is unable to rally behind. While Littrell has brought attention to a football program that was once rock bottom, I feel the university will be quick to move on from him, in an attempt to avoid falling back into the same hole they were once in before his hiring.

This will be Littrell’s fifth season in Denton, and another year without a bowl win could also be the last straw for the head coach. Prior to last year’s collapse, the Mean Green played in three consecutive bowl games, going winless in all three of them. 

If the athletic department believes they have a good replacement at the ready, I feel they won’t hesitate to give Littrell the boot at the end of this year. This is a program that has been trending upwards for the past five years and will not backtrack to keep a coach who the team can no longer succeed under.

Featured Illustration by Olivia Varnell

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Milo Mihaltses

Milo Mihaltses

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