Jump to content
  • Welcome to GoMeanGreen.com!

    Thank you for visiting us!  Registering is easy and free, and provides you with the ability to participate in the discussions along with many cool features and content.

When Was North Texas Football At Its Best...


Recommended Posts

I just thought this might produce some positive thoughts. Not necessarily just single seasons, but maybe spans of years like the late 50's and early 60's after North Texas was the first Texas University to integrate. Ws it coaches like Odus Mitchell who saw that the future was integration of college athletics? The players such as Abner Haynes he recruited? Support of the administration and community in the Hayden Fry era? Was the early success of Rod Rust at all related to his coaching, or just the talent base Mitchell left him?

Edited by eulessismore
Link to post
Share on other sites

The late eighties were frustrating but in hindsight gave us some great moments - big wins, fantastic showings against the big boys and some great rivalries with SWT, Arkie State, NLU, SHSU, ACU. The frustrating part came in the playoffs when we couldn't win a game - down to Marshall, down to Boise State I think. We had the horses but couldn't land the right playoff matchupps.

GMG

Link to post
Share on other sites

After just visiting Arkansas, and I do realize it's much different than it was then, but during the late 60's UA was bidding for a national championship three years straight. In '68 UA finished 10-1 when their only loss was against Texas(39 to 29). Considering that NT finished 8-2 that year and amazingly includes a 17-15 nail biter loss to that same Arkansas team a week after UA's game with Texas then I would say the late 60's era teams were our greatest in regards to all-time.

From '66 to '69 NT went 30-8-1

Edited by FirefightnRick
Link to post
Share on other sites

After just visiting Arkansas, and I do realize it's much different than it was then, but during the late 60's UA was bidding for a national championship three years straight. In '68 UA finished 10-1 when their only loss was against Texas(39 to 29). Considering that NT finished 8-2 that year and amazingly includes a 17-15 nail biter loss to that same Arkansas team a week after UA's game with Texas then I would say the late 60's era teams were our greatest in regards to all-time.

From '66 to '69 NT went 30-8-1

Thanks for that analysis, Rick. Pretty good stuff. I haven't followed the program long enough (I enrolled in 74) to know that much about the coaching, players, system, etc. for that time frame. I had suspected that late 60's era would be favored by someone; I'd love to know more details about it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The late 60's was the era of Joe Green, Spider Lockhart, Ron Shanklin, Cedric Hardman and others.

One thing we "old Geezers" from that era realize is that the SWC, SEC, ACC were pretty much if not totally all-white colleges when these athletes were recruited. We had to compete against the Big 8, Big-10 and Pac-10 for them BUT many did not want to leave the state and many were not offered any scholarships elsewhere. Houston (independent then) and West Texas also was integrated (WT had Mercury Morris and Dwane Thomas at the same time). If you notice none of the SWC would play us during the 60's... Arkansas was the only one and they were out of state and it was late in the 60's.

John Wooten of UCLA was a great basketball coach but... he could recruit the entire South/Southwest without competeing against the Southern Conferences for a lot the best ones and he did... This is one of the reasons he won so many national championships in Basketball. His greatness was partly because he realized by getting just of few of the best players in the South along with what he else he could recruit than he could win big. His biggest competition in the region was from from the old Missouri Valley which had Louisville, Cincinnati, Memphis, North Texas, Wichita St., Tulsa, Bradley, and others plus Houston which had been a MVC member at one time.

That era is long gone and so is our advantage in recruited those athletes... Actually I think Fry was doing the better job of recruiting because when he was at North Texas, he did have to compete with SWC for all athletes.... Times had changed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that analysis, Rick. Pretty good stuff. I haven't followed the program long enough (I enrolled in 74) to know that much about the coaching, players, system, etc. for that time frame. I had suspected that late 60's era would be favored by someone; I'd love to know more details about it.

I'm sure GrayEagle and OldTimer and many others will be able to add to that era, in fact I believe GreenGrenadeII was actually at that game. But as I have heard it, earlier in that game Ron Shanklin caught a TD in the back of the endzone that wasn't allowed for some reason? Then very late in the game we had a drive that died inside their 5 yard line on a fumble. To think we had a team that should have beaten one of the top 2 or 3 teams in the nation? And of course as it is to just be so NORTH TEXAS like, we never freaking tell anyone about it or promote it in a display or teach it to the new folks? God we're so freaking stupid with our history and tradition it makes me SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, years later UA Coach Frank Broyles, who won the national championship only 4 years earlier in '64 would mention either in one of his books somewhere or spoke to one of our reporters(Can't remember who it was that told me this?), he mentioned that that North Texas team in '68 truly caught them by sursprise that year.

Rcik

Link to post
Share on other sites

Between 1967 and 1971 North Texas had 20 players drafted including 3 in the first round and one number 2 pick in the 2nd round. We had two quarterbacks selected (Carlin in the 3rd round in 1967 and Ramsey in the 5th round in 1970) Since 1971 we have had only had 15 players drafted.

Link to post
Share on other sites

That era is long gone and so is our advantage in recruited those athletes... Actually I think Fry was doing the better job of recruiting because when he was at North Texas, he did have to compete with SWC for all athletes.... Times had changed.

Fry could compensate for a lack of talent in other areas. He loved to use a multiple offense before it was stylish; he said it made the opponent confused and they had to spend time practicing against everything they had seen us do on film. Fry was also a wonderful motivator of fans and players...you went into a game "knowing" you had a good chance for a win, regardless of opponent or previous week. He would also get into the minds of opponents, like painting the opponent's locker room pink at Iowa, or changing NT's uniforms to a bright apple Green to distract defenders. The main thing, he made it fun! :D

Edited by NT80
Link to post
Share on other sites

Between 1967 and 1971 North Texas had 20 players drafted including 3 in the first round and one number 2 pick in the 2nd round. We had two quarterbacks selected (Carlin in the 3rd round in 1967 and Ramsey in the 5th round in 1970) Since 1971 we have had only had 15 players drafted.

---You do have a point BUT then the NFL drafted 12 rounds... now they draft 6 or 7.... A lot of those taken in the later rounds then were from smaller program schools that they were taking chances on and did not expect would make the team. A better stat would be how many athletes made opening day NFL rosters.. The second part of that is we getting a lot of excellent black athletes that the SWC and others would not recruit.

--- Carlin and Ramsey were good North Texas QBs in an era that the SWC and even the SEC was still in a period of 3 yards of dust style offenses. SMU (with Fry) and Baylor were the only two in the SWC that I remember that threw the ball a lot. UT and lot of them went to the wishbone offense in the late 60's which threw very little and did not produce NFL quarterbacks or receivers or even lineman that could protect a QB in a throwing game. On defense they were not accustomed to facing passing teams either. . The Missouri Valley had a wide open NFL style offense and many QBs were drafted from Tulsa, Louisville, Cincinnati and North Texas.... several went on to very successful NFL quarterbacks.

--Those of us who saw MVC games in basketball and football in that were seeing much different games that what the SWC was producing. A lot of pro players came from the MVC in both sports. Unfortunately we were a SWC outsider as was UTEP* (Texas-Western) and West Texas and never got the attention that we deserved.

*National champion in basketball and only college to break into the UCLA run of championships (12?).

Edited by SCREAMING EAGLE-66
Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest GrayEagleOne

I just thought this might produce some positive thoughts. Not necessarily just single seasons, but maybe spans of years like the late 50's and early 60's after North Texas was the first Texas University to integrate. Ws it coaches like Odus Mitchell who saw that the future was integration of college athletics? The players such as Abner Haynes he recruited? Support of the administration and community in the Hayden Fry era? Was the early success of Rod Rust at all related to his coaching, or just the talent base Fry left him?

It would be great to say that Odus Mitchell or North Texas, for that matter, were great visionaries, but they were not.

North Texas was integrated in 1956 due to a court case. If I recall correctly (and I've slept a few times since then) a woman, who was trying to get a doctorate in education, brought suit against the then all-white university. She won and was admitted in 1956. In 1957, Abner, Leon and a handful of other students enrolled as undergraduates. While there were a few isolated incidents, the transition went rather smoothly.

In that era, freshmen could not play on the varsity. The major schools, which North Texas had become a few years earlier, had a freshman team. They played other major college freshman teams, junior varsitys of the small colleges, and junior colleges.

Odus Mitchell gave very few scholarships. If you were a heralded all-stater then you might be given one. Mostly, he had players come to Denton and tryout. He would then evaluate those who tried out and then award scholarships to those whom he thought were the best. He didn't recruit Abner. Abner's brother brought him to Denton for a tryout. I've heard that Odus didn't think very highly of Abner at first because his clothes (probably hand-me-downs) were too large, making him look small. However, as soon as he saw Abner perform, he had his scholarship. Abner Haynes and Leon King, were personable and talented enough, that they survived the sometimes harsh treatment of some players on the squad. A few of the team leaders took them under their wing and helped make the transition as smoothly as was possible. Abner was an instant success; Leon, less so, and did not return for his varsity years.

Hayden Fry was revered by the president of the college, recent alumni, and monied townspeople. Two of his biggest allies were the president of the university, C.C. 'Jitter' Nolen, and Newton Rayzor. Nolan was able to hire Hayden by combining the salaries of head coach and athletic director. Newton Rayzor was the primary source of funds for any of Hayden's projects.

Rod Rust was a good coach when he had the talent but wasn't a very good recruiter. He won big with inherited talent but couldn't sustain that same level. He was mostly a defensive coach who was at his best as a coordinator.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be great to say that Odus Mitchell or North Texas, for that matter, were great visionaries, but they were not.

North Texas was integrated in 1956 due to a court case. If I recall correctly (and I've slept a few times since then) a woman, who was trying to get a doctorate in education, brought suit against the then all-white university. She won and was admitted in 1956. In 1957, Abner, Leon and a handful of other students enrolled as undergraduates. While there were a few isolated incidents, the transition went rather smoothly.

In that era, freshmen could not play on the varsity. The major schools, which North Texas had become a few years earlier, had a freshman team. They played other major college freshman teams, junior varsitys of the small colleges, and junior colleges.

Odus Mitchell gave very few scholarships. If you were a heralded all-stater then you might be given one. Mostly, he had players come to Denton and tryout. He would then evaluate those who tried out and then award scholarships to those whom he thought were the best. He didn't recruit Abner. Abner's brother brought him to Denton for a tryout. I've heard that Odus didn't think very highly of Abner at first because his clothes (probably hand-me-downs) were too large, making him look small. However, as soon as he saw Abner perform, he had his scholarship. Abner Haynes and Leon King, were personable and talented enough, that they survived the sometimes harsh treatment of some players on the squad. A few of the team leaders took them under their wing and helped make the transition as smoothly as was possible. Abner was an instant success; Leon, less so, and did not return for his varsity years.

Hayden Fry was revered by the president of the college, recent alumni, and monied townspeople. Two of his biggest allies were the president of the university, C.C. 'Jitter' Nolen, and Newton Rayzor. Nolan was able to hire Hayden by combining the salaries of head coach and athletic director. Newton Rayzor was the primary source of funds for any of Hayden's projects.

Rod Rust was a good coach when he had the talent but wasn't a very good recruiter. He won big with inherited talent but couldn't sustain that same level. He was mostly a defensive coach who was at his best as a coordinator.

That's pretty good insight, GrayEagleOne. I am aware that the desegregation was court ordered, but it seemed limited. I do wonder if Mitchell be seen as taking any initiative, or was he just responding completely to outside pressure, whether from the Court, or University administration.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of the few topics to which I can contribute...I don't know if that is good or bad!

When I arrived on campus in 1971, there was still quite a bit of talk about the Ramsey era and the late sixties. I recall hearing that a North Texas game was even on TV which at that time, was quite a feat, seeing there were only the three networks.

Fry was just getting cranked up when I graduated in 1975, but I did get to see us beat a nationally ranked San Diego St team at Fouts, (in front of 300 paying fans!!). Someone can add or correct this, but we were nationally ranked sometime in the late 70's ourselves, so I would submit whatever year that was, would have to be considered one of the greatest teams ever.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the best ranking I recall is when NT was 13th in either the caoches poll or the AP poll in . Fry used to cast a 1st place vote for NT in the coaches poll which makes me think it was the coaches poll. We were independent at the time which made it a little Notre Dame'ish.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Can anyone provide a chronology of UNT's conference memberships over the years?

1913-1921 Independent

1922-1931 Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Assoc.

1932-1942 Lone Star Conference

1943-1945 No Team - WWII

1946-1948 Lone Star Conference

1949-1956 Gulf Coast Conference

1957-1974 Missouri Valley Conference

1975-1982 Independent

1983-1994 Southland Conference

1995 Independent

1996-2000 Big West

2001- Sun Belt

So our longest streak in any one conference is 18 years in the MVC.

Link to post
Share on other sites

1913-1921 Independent

1922-1931 Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Assoc.

1932-1942 Lone Star Conference

1943-1945 No Team - WWII

1946-1948 Lone Star Conference

1949-1956 Gulf Coast Conference

1957-1974 Missouri Valley Conference

1975-1982 Independent

1983-1994 Southland Conference

1995 Independent

1996-2000 Big West

2001- Sun Belt

So our longest streak in any one conference is 18 years in the MVC.

Conference Championships:

TIAA: 1931

Lone Star: 1932 1935 1936 1939 1940 1941 1946 1947

Gulf Coast: 1950 1951 1952 1955 1956

MVC: 1958 1959 1966 1967 1973

Southland: 1983 1994

Sun Belt: 2001 2002 2003 2004

Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the best ranking I recall is when NT was 13th in either the caoches poll or the AP poll in . Fry used to cast a 1st place vote for NT in the coaches poll which makes me think it was the coaches poll. We were independent at the time which made it a little Notre Dame'ish.

Hayden never said exactly how he voted, at least not at the time. I don’t think he voted us #1 but rather #2. The votes for number 1 are listed and it would be obvious is a way down in the top 20 got a single vote for #1. But, once we were ranked, we stayed there for a while and actually rose in the rankings. Other coaches would look at the list, see we won and rank us where we were the week before. Since that added to our total votes, we went up for a while.

It was a bit of a smoke and mirrors game, but it almost got us to a bowl. The Independence Bowl folks were not impressed by our poor fan turn out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hayden never said exactly how he voted, at least not at the time. I don’t think he voted us #1 but rather #2. The votes for number 1 are listed and it would be obvious is a way down in the top 20 got a single vote for #1. But, once we were ranked, we stayed there for a while and actually rose in the rankings. Other coaches would look at the list, see we won and rank us where we were the week before. Since that added to our total votes, we went up for a while.

It was a bit of a smoke and mirrors game, but it almost got us to a bowl. The Independence Bowl folks were not impressed by our poor fan turn out.

[/quote

You could be correct, I could just be remembering the insider jokes surrounding it. I don't think Coach Fry every really told me how he voted either.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In route to the Arkansas game Friday evening a sports talk show had a call in time. One of the callers - an Arky - was at the 1968 game in the end zone and set the winning NT pass was complete - however after a long delay the officials declared it incomplete. Arkansas refereeing has not improved.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. Please review our full Privacy Policy before using our site.