North Texas Daily

UNT makes best of short home schedule

UNT makes best of short home schedule

UNT makes best of short home schedule
November 21
16:44 2012

Tyler Owens
Senior Staff Writer

For eight of the last 11 years, UNT has had to work with only five home games in the football season, but with head coach Dan McCarney at the helm that is about to change.

McCarney said that as long as he is head coach, he will do all he can to make sure that the Mean Green has at least six home games.

“Whatever happened in scheduling before I got here, I have no control over that,” he said. “I do have input into the future. [Athletic Director] Rick Villarreal and I are on the same page that it will never happen again.”

UNT has already taken a step in the direction that McCarney wants to go. To start the 2013 football season, the Mean Green will open at home against the University of Idaho Vandals. It will be the first time UNT has opened at home since the 2001 season.

Villarreal said that the short home schedules occur for a multitude of reasons, but at UNT it was the result of scheduling home-and-home series with other schools.

“When you have to start scheduling home-and-homes like we did, you have to return those games at some point in time,” Villarreal said.

“Unfortunately, the only way we could get those schedules worked was to return those games in the same year, which put us in the position to have one less home game.”

Despite the shortened schedule, fans and students have come out in support of the program, and the team said that is crucial for the program’s success. Even with only five home games, UNT set an attendance record last year with more than 113,000 fans in the five combined games.

“When you play in front of your home crowd, it makes you just want to play better,” freshman wide receiver Carlos Harris said. “They expect a show, and you want to give them a show. It’s key to get those wins to get the crowd into it and keep the home field advantage.”

In just two seasons as the head coach, McCarney has improved the team’s home record to 7-4, up from 1-16, which UNT had in the three seasons prior to the McCarney era.

The players conceded that they would like to have more home games, but they make do with what is given to them.

“All our home games are important because we’ve got to establish a home field advantage out here,” junior running back Brandin Byrd said. “When we are playing at home you have to take it upon yourself to make something happen. It’s unfortunate that we’ve only got five, but we’ve got to move on now.”

While there are fewer home football games in the recently constructed Apogee Stadium, it is important to note that home games are not the only revenue streamed from the stadium.

UNT has hosted high school football games and marching band competitions, among other events, to promote the university when the football team isn’t playing or is on the road.

Villarreal said that UNT is continually working toward improving the athletics program.

“It’s my hope that, at some point in time, we build the venues to bring in the kind of student athletes and coaches that will drive our program to where people will come out to games, to where we will sell a bunch more tickets,” he said. “Then we have a lot more of an opportunity to dictate our schedule, as opposed to having our schedule dictated to us based on a budget.”

UNT will play its final game of the 2012 season Saturday against Western Kentucky University.

Staff writer Tim Cato contributed to this report.

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