UNT has played many roles in pop culture, spanning movies, TV, music, books and social media.

Look -- there's Jason Bateman and Kathy Ireland playing football at Fouts Field. And hey -- is that the Eli Young Band hanging out at the Library Mall? And check it out -- UNT drummers are performing with Meghan Trainor.

Of course, these sights are no surprise considering UNT has long played a significant role in pop culture. The university has been home to famous actors and musicians, from Thomas Haden Church to Norah Jones. And Hollywood has placed the spotlight on UNT, casting the campus in films and TV shows. So let's take a look at some of UNT's greatest hits.

promotional photo of the movie Necessary Roughness' cast

Necessary Roughness: You can see Fouts Field and other campus sites in the 1991 movie Necessary Roughness, which brought actors (Scott Bakula, Jason Bateman, Sinbad, Kathy Ireland) and football stars (Earl Campbell, Tony Dorsett, Herschel Walker, Ed "Too Tall" Jones and more) to UNT. The crew used two dozen students as assistants and many others as interns and extras, including Michelene Mundo ('91) and Michael "Jocco" Phillips ('92), who went on to achieve success in Hollywood.

The Jesse Owens Story: Fouts Field also played a role in the 1984 TV movie The Jesse Owens Story. Students served as extras for a crowd scene, and student Craig Miller ('88), now a sports radio host on The Ticket in DFW, played one of the athletes.

Andre the Giant

Andre the Giant: Would you believe that movie star and wrestler Andre the Giant was on campus? The Princess Bride giant visited Fouts Field in 1975, although details of the picture remain a mystery. Andre may have been in the middle of a wrestling tour of Texas at the time. The score reflects North Texas' victory over the University of Tennessee, a game that was played in Knoxville.

Eli Young Band on a football field with a banner saying best university

Eli Young Band Life at Best webisode: The members of Eli Young Band met in their freshman year at UNT. The Grammy-nominated band has stayed true to the school, shooting the webisode of its 2013 song Life at Best on campus, which featured shots of Apogee Stadium, Onstead Plaza in the Library Mall, science labs, classrooms and concert halls.


Lecrae: Lecrae Moore ('02) overcame a troubled youth to become a Grammy Award-winning rapper and credits his time at UNT and Plumbline Ministries with helping to change his path. He gives a shoutout to both UNT and Plumbline in the 2013 song My Whole Life Changed. (He also talks about his time on campus in his memoir, Unashamed.)

EB the Younger in baseball uniforms

E.B. the Younger: That's Lovelace Stadium, home of the Mean Green softball team, seen throughout Used to Be, a 2018 video made by Midlake lead singer and guitarist Eric Pulido, going by the name E.B. the Younger. Jason Lee appears in the video as the baseball coach, and Mean Green sports announcer Hank Dickenson gives the play by play.


UNT students hold Enn signs on the UNT campus

The Ellen Degeneres Show: What inspired students and community members to dress up as holiday presents on a cold night in December 2014? The Ellen DeGeneres Show shot a segment at the Library Mall, which gave millions of viewers a look at the Hurley Administration Building and sent those in costume on a hunt for gifts planted around campus.

Meghan Trainor ©James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys
©James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys football game: We've always known UNT attracts the greatest musicians around, and some of our best female drummers proved that to the world when they performed with singer Meghan Trainor at the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving game in 2018.

Key & Peele: The comedy duo Key and Peele were known for segments such as "The Substitute Teacher," which featured some wildly creative names. In this introduction of football players for the "East/West Bowl Pro Edition" segment, which aired in 2015, one of the athletes is from North Texas University (go to 2:48).  

March Madness

March Madness: When the Mean Green basketball team won its first victory in the NCAA tournament in 2021, it scored lots of publicity, including a joke from Jimmy Fallon, a shoutout from Stephen King and even a few moments in CBS' iconic "One Shining Moment" video (jump to 0:40).

Stone Cold Steve Austin

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin: The wrestler attended UNT in the 1980s, playing for the Mean Green football team. He talked about his time at UNT in this A&E documentary (jump to 7:32), with footage provided by UNT Libraries.

Social Media
Dude Perfect on a basketball court

Dude Perfect: The Super Pit was the star of the show when the players of Dude Perfect came to try trick shots and other shenanigans. The 2018 episode garnered more than 23 million views on YouTube.

video still of a fake fair catch

Fake fair catch: During the 2018 football season, the Mean Green pulled off a fake fair catch that led to a 90-yard touchdown, lots of gasps and plenty of attention from SB Nation and other media outlets. The trick play even got its own parody, set against Celine Dion's melodramatic My Heart Will Go On.

UNT Agogee Stadium

Game of Thrones: The opening sequence to the popular HBO show got a Texas twist, with Apogee Stadium and the diving eagle playing a part. Danny Williams ('09), a radio/television/film graduate and motion graphic artist, created the video in 2013.

Mikayla Riedel

Try Guys: Nala the dog, whose companion is student Mikayla Riedel, is seen frolicking around UNT's welcome sign and the city of Denton during The Try Guys' episode of #TheBarkchshler, its version of The Bachelor for dogs. The 2018 episode, with Nala appearing at the 3:56 mark, has garnered more than a million views. Click here for Nala's full video.

Three folk singers perform

Folk Music Club: UNT is known for its music scene, and the Folk Music Club, formed in the 1960s for students to play folk songs together, produced trailblazers such as Michael Martin Murphey, Steve Fromholz and Eddie Wilson. The university received its own passage in the book The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, written by Jan Reid, former senior writer for Texas Monthly.

Game Changers book cover

UNT football: The story of North Texas' integration of the football team in the 1950s was the subject of the 2016 book The Game Changers: Abner Haynes, Leon King, and the Fall of Major College Football's Color Barrier in Texas, written by Jeff Miller.

Mean Joe Greene

And our favorite defensive tackle "Mean" Joe Greene mentions his time here in his memoir, Built by Football.

The Yellow House

Sarah Broom: In her memoir The Yellow House, Mayborn School of Journalism graduate Sarah Broom ('02) describes her family's life in New Orleans. She also notes her years at UNT, with West Hall and Willis Library making appearances in the National Book Award-winning work.

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