North Texas Daily

New president makes good on bet on eve of taking office

New president makes good on bet on eve of taking office

New president makes good on bet on eve of taking office
January 31
20:05 2014

Joshua Knopp // Senior Staff Writer

You almost feel bad for the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. Over the past two months, UNT has beaten it up at football, stolen its chief administrator and, Friday night, dressed him up in Mean Green flair.

Incoming president Neal Smatresk made good on a bet with outgoing president V. Lane Rawlins when the pair and other administrators met for brisket sandwiches at Rudy’s.

For the meal, Smatresk dressed in a no. 3 Mean Green football jersey, beads, a baseball cap and, for a few moments, a beak. They pair bet before the Heart of Dallas Bowl that the losing president would have to wear the other team’s colors. In the school’s first bowl victory in 11 years, UNT beat UNLV 36-14.

Smatresk had been UNLV’s president since 2009, but was named as Rawlins’ replacement at UNT in December. Rawlins was quick to point out that he had more at stake.

“It wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun if I had to dress up in Rebel red,” he said.

Smatresk said he’d already had a large, white mustache picked out for Rawlins.

Among those in attendance was athletic director Rick Villarreal, who said Smatresk was the first of five presidents he’d served under to dress in full sports gear. Villarreal praised Smatresk’s record of supporting his university’s sports team, saying he attended every UNLV game. Villarreal was also proud of the team that made this dinner possible.

“When we brought Dan [McCarney, head coach] in here, this was the expectation. We did expect to be in a bowl game. We did expect this kind of progress,” he said. “But there’s only so much coaches can do and players have to do the rest. You look at this group of seniors, look at the buy in.”

Both presidents said they had connections to Rudy’s. Rawlins had his first ever meal in Denton in the restaurant, and Smatresk said his children had gone to school with the children of Rudolph Aue, who founded the first Rudy’s in San Antonio.

Smatresk will officially take over as UNT’s 16th president Monday.

Photo courtesy of Junebug Clark.

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