Rising Star

New men's basketball coach Grant McCasland joined UNT this spring. (Photo by Michael Clements)Wren Baker, vice president and director of athletics, announced the hiring of Grant McCasland as UNT's 18th men's basketball coach this spring.

McCasland, an 18-year coaching veteran, spent last year as head coach at Arkansas State, where he led his team to a 20-win season for only the fourth time in the school's history. Prior to Arkansas State, McCasland was an assistant coach at Baylor University for five seasons, helping lead the Bears to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016. His career winning percentage is 80 percent.

"Coach McCasland is a rising superstar in college basketball and possesses all of the qualities we desire," Baker says. "He has been successful at every step of his career. He's a proven coach and recruiter, but most importantly, he has demonstrated the ability to help young men grow and develop as people."

Preparing for another bowl run

Seth Littrell (Photo by David Minton)Coming off one of the best turnarounds in college football and a bowl appearance last season, the Mean Green are gearing up for their second year under head coach Seth Littrell. He says the season could be something special, with continued hard work.

"This program is a lot closer to competing for championships than we were a year ago, but we will have to stay healthy and continue to improve," Littrell says. "Our goal will be to win a bowl game, which we fell just short of last year."

Six of the Mean Green's 12 opponents this fall played in bowl games last year. The season opener against Lamar will take place at Apogee Stadium Sept. 2, followed by a game at SMU Sept. 9. Purchase season tickets online or call 800-868-2366.

Track and field and men's golf top finishes

Three individual Mean Green men's golfers — sophomores Ian Snyman and Thomas Rosenmueller and senior Cory Churchman — qualified for the NCAA regional tournament this spring, marking the sixth time in the last seven years UNT has been represented. Snyman was the top Mean Green finisher, placing 15th with a career-best 67 on the final round.

In track and field, Kristyn Archuleta was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year and won gold at the C-USA outdoor championship in women's javelin with a school record throw of 49.39 meters. Other top finishers were freshman Breanna Eckels, second in the women's long jump, and senior James Coleman, third in the men's 3,000-meter steeplechase. The three qualified for the NCAA West prelims along with sophomore Javier Lopez-Ibarra in the javelin, and sophomore James Cole and senior Collin Heard in the 200-meter dash.

New staff hires

UNT's athletics department has made several hires in recent months. Chris Baretta joined the department as senior associate athletic director for ticket operations, and Matt Witty was hired as the senior associate athletic director for business operations. Jeff Smith joined as senior associate athletic director for sports medicine, and Mike Villa began as assistant athletic director for equipment services. Alejandra Lopez was promoted to assistant director of development, and Brett Gemas joins the Mean Green as director of creative content.