North Texas Daily

North Texas fans raise money to fly anti-Villarreal banner at home game

North Texas fans raise money to fly anti-Villarreal banner at home game

North Texas fans raise money to fly anti-Villarreal banner at home game
October 22
09:35 2015

Scott Sidway | Sports Editor

@ScottyWK

A collection of Mean Green fans has raised $2,000 in roughly 24 hours to fly a banner over Apogee Stadium at the football team’s home game on Saturday, Oct. 31 that would read “Fire Rick Villarreal.”

The GoFundMe was created on Monday, Oct. 19 by UNT alumnus and current Mean Green Club member Michael Weber, and it exceeded its goal total of $1,900. Twenty-two registered people have donated to the banner.

“I did this to give people who don’t have a voice in athletics a voice,” Weber said. “It’s not personal. I’m sure he’s a great guy. But at some point, there has to be accountability.”

The move is one in a series of public outcries toward North Texas athletic director Rick Villarreal, who fired former head football coach Dan McCarney minutes after the team lost to Portland State University by a record margin.

Villarreal is responsible for the construction of Apogee Stadium as well as other athletics facilities at North Texas, but his history of hiring and firing coaches has stirred up discussion among Mean Green faithful. In 100 football games under Villarreal-hired coaches, North Texas’ record is 28-72.

“Rick’s done a lot of good things, and he made people care about UNT athletics,” Weber said. “And because of that, people demand better.”

Rick McKinney is former Mean Green Club member who left the club this year because of the perception he has of the athletics department. He donated $100 to the GoFundMe fundraiser because he said many fans are “fed up” with the state of the program and refuse to go to games anymore.

“I hope that it makes some people who are in charge of the university aware that they have ignored this problem for far too long,” McKinney said.

Villarreal said he is aware of the campaign.

The home game begins at 6 p.m on Halloween, but the GoFundMe page says the banner will fly before the game. Weber said if Villarreal is, for some reason, not the athletic director come next Saturday, the money would go elsewhere.

“I would love for the situation to be remedied by then,” Weber said. “Then we can donate that money to the Mean Green Club.”

Senior Staff Writer Reece Waddell contributed to this report.

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