The Mean Green have much to celebrate. The women's soccer team won the Conference USA Tournament to capture the 13th league title in program history and earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time. The volleyball team won its first regular-season conference championship, its second trip to a postseason tournament and its first postseason victory.
And the football team, led by head coach Seth Littrell, has made for a stunning season. They secured the top spot in Conference USA's West Division and are preparing to play Troy in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl Dec. 16. A victory would mark the program's first 10-win season since 1977.
"Having an opportunity for all our teams to play for a championship, that's the standard we want to set," says Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker. "We're creating champions and leaders."
The 2017 UNT Athletic Hall of Fame class was announced this fall: men's basketball player Josh White ('11), football player Paul Draper ('67), women's soccer player Kendall Juett ('10), women's basketball player Ramona Black ('91) and former football coach Darrell Dickey, who was at UNT from 1998 to 2006.
This year's Fred McCain honorees are Don and Patty Lovelace.
Mean Green student-athletes have a record-high cumulative score of 83 on the NCAA's latest Graduation Success Rate data, surpassing last year's score of 82.
The tennis team led the way with a perfect score of 100 for the second consecutive year. Soccer at 96 and volleyball at 92 had the two next-best scores. Six of 12 UNT sports were at or above the Division I average for their respective programs: football, men's basketball, men's track and field, and women's soccer, tennis and volleyball.
The GSR, which helps to measure the academic success of Division I student-athletes, allows a six-year window in which they can go on to earn their degrees. The most recent data is based on the four freshman classes that entered from 2007 to 2010.
UNT athletics began construction in October on a new soccer and track and field stadium that will be located near the Waranch Tennis Complex in the Mean Green Village. The new facility, expected to be completed in August 2018, will have a 14,000-square-foot field house to go along with a sand-based soccer field and eight-lane track. There will be seating for 1,500 fans, new coaches' offices, locker rooms, a team meeting area and a student-athlete lounge.
A new indoor practice facility also was approved to be built near the Mean Green Athletic Center. The 94,000-square-foot facility will include a full-length football field, a three-lane track and support spaces. It is slated for completion in July 2019.
"These new facilities will be some of the best in the region and our conference," Baker says. "They will vastly improve the experience for our fans and our student-athletes."
The facilities will be the first two projects of a 20-year master plan released this fall, which will include several capital campaign initiatives.
UNT will partner with Conference USA, the Dallas Cowboys and Visit Frisco to bring the conference's 2018 and 2019 men's and women's basketball championships to the Cowboys' Ford Center at The Star in Frisco. The 2018 championships are scheduled March 7-10, with all 22 games -- 11 men's and 11 women's -- hosted at The Star. The conference champions receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"This is an amazing opportunity for our fans and all those in the North Texas region to see some great basketball," says Grant McCasland, head men's basketball coach.
For more information and tickets, visit Conference USA online.