North Texas Daily

Mean Green Baseball Project seeks to revive former Division I team

Mean Green Baseball Project seeks to revive former Division I team

Mean Green Baseball Project seeks to revive former Division I team
November 11
12:00 2022

The 1984 season saw North Texas State University promote its club baseball team into Division I NCAA competition as the “Eagles” joined the Southland Conference.

The team lasted five seasons — a legacy some former players consider to be short-lived. Rather than let the baseball program become a distant memory in the university’s history, a group of alumni has united in hopes of reviving it.

The Mean Green Baseball Project is an advocacy group seeking to bring DI baseball back as its own athletic program. The group consists of seven friends — six of whom played baseball for the university.

“People didn’t act like we existed — like we were just this ridiculously horrible team, and we weren’t,” Doug Rush, former North Texas starting pitcher and MGBP president, said. “We had a bunch of really good players. We just didn’t have the scholarships and the backing [of the university] to be successful.”

On Aug. 11, 2022, the men teamed up to make a change. They created MGBP social media accounts across several platforms, constructed their own website and reached out to the university Athletics Department.

“Let’s put a smile on our face and let’s try to make an impact and help the community possibly bring this back,” Danny Suges, former North Texas baseball player and MGBP vice president, said.

There was hope for the MGBP’s anticipated revival in 2016 when former Athletic Director Rick Villarreal proposed a plan to bring baseball back to the university. However, the plan never came to fruition, as Villarreal left the university later that year.

“We’ve been waiting patiently for it to start back and it just never has happened, so we’re trying to put a rush on that,” Rush said.

The MGBP has raised over $15,000 of its $50,000 goal on its GoFundMe since August 29. The group wants to use this money to advertise and promote their cause and get the attention of larger donors. Aside from using its online platform to spread awareness, the group also attended this year’s Homecoming tailgate on Nov. 5, where they handed out their “#bringitback” T-shirts and koozies.

“I firmly believe that unity with the sports of basketball and baseball and softball would give recognition to the football team by being winning programs,” Kevin McKinney, MGBP treasurer and North Texas Club Baseball alum, said.

With the university’s plans to expand its athletic facilities to provide more space for student-athletes to train and learn, the MGBP believes there just might be a home for new athletic programs like varsity baseball. The group said this has given some hope for a possible future for additional sports at the university.

“[DI baseball] is something that we do talk about and it is on our radar,” Jared Mosley, UNT athletics associate vice president and chief operating officer, said. “It is something that we do have conversations about as we look long-term in our planning.”

The MGBP wants to give North Texas baseball a chance to be successful because they feel baseball was never given a fair chance. The members said they cherish their memories of playing baseball at the university and hope to revive it so others can make their own memories and bring more success to UNT athletics.

“I’d love to go to baseball games and say [to my granddaughter] ‘So you’re going to be able to maybe play soccer here or you might be able to play softball here, but this is where your grandpa played baseball,’” Suges said.

Featured Image: Members of the Mean Green Baseball Project pose for a photo while passing out koozies at their Homecoming tailgate on Nov. 4, 2022. Photo by Matt Iaia

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Alison Leclair

Alison Leclair

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