The Mean Green men's basketball team was ready. It had just clinched its first regular season title in 31 years after beating Western Kentucky in overtime March 1. The team was headed into the C-USA Basketball Tournament with unprecedented energy and confidence.
Until it wasn't.
The outbreak of COVID-19 brought the season to a halt with all athletic events for the foreseeable future canceled.
"I think unfinished business is a proper way to describe this season," says Hank Dickenson, executive senior associate athletic director.
And men's basketball wasn't the only team on a hot streak. Mean Green softball on March 8 claimed its first Conference USA series of the season with a decisive 11-3 win over the University of Texas at San Antonio. The team had already accumulated a history-making win over the University of Oklahoma on the road in February and was a preseason favorite to win the Conference USA championship. The premature ending of the season also closed out the careers of eight seniors on the team, including Katie Clark, one of the most decorated players in program history.
"It was disappointing to not get to finish out our season," says head coach Rodney DeLong, "as we were about to accomplish even more."
Head football coach Seth Littrell announced that Steven Haunga has been named North Texas' offensive quality control coach and Mackenzie Morris has been named the Mean Green's new recruiting operations coordinator. Haunga most recently spent time as an offensive graduate assistant at Auburn, while Morris was the on-campus recruiting assistant at Arkansas for the past two seasons.
Prior to his season at Auburn, Haunga worked with current Mean Green co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Mike Bloesch at Tulsa for three seasons. Morris was responsible for planning and executing official visits during the 2018 and 2019 seasons for the Razorbacks.
The award honors 14 student-athletes with significant community service endeavors, good academic standing and participation in their sport. Academically, the Duncanville native has earned C-USA Honor Roll distinction five consecutive semesters.
Edge rusher LaDarius Hamilton and offensive lineman Elex Woodworth signed free agent deals with NFL teams in April. Hamilton signed moments after the conclusion of the draft with the Dallas Cowboys, joining another former North Texas player on the roster, fullback Jamize Olawale. Woodworth signed with the Houston Texans shortly after Hamilton's deal with Dallas. Hamilton finished his North Texas career tied for sixth in career sacks (17) and sixth all-time in program history for tackles for loss (28.5). Woodworth made 45 career starts in 48 appearances throughout his career in Denton.
With National Student-Athlete Day on April 6, the Mean Green celebrated some of its teams' biggest victories over the past year. They included the men's basketball and women's soccer programs winning Conference USA championships; the Mean Green softball team beating two top-10 nationally ranked opponents; 24 North Texas student-athletes earning all-conference honors; women's soccer reaching the NCAA Tournament; 16 student-athletes earning player of the week honors; and Florian Lussy reaching the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The Mean Green also celebrated its student-athletes' commitment to academics and community service.