The Alumni Invasion Continues
Posted July 24, 2012
If you've been to a Mean Green event in the past few years, you've almost certainly seen Kayla Spears. And if it seems like she's been at just about every game, there's good reason. She has.
Now she's getting paid to be there.
Spears, a former Talons president, was hired this summer as the athletic department's coordinator of marketing and promotions, becoming the seventh North Texas alumni on staff.
It's hard to say who is more fortunate - Spears for getting a new job in her chosen field fresh out of college, or the North Texas Athletics Department for getting someone already plugged into the Mean Green student culture.
"I was always involved," Spears said.
Extremely involved. A 2011 graduate of UNT with a double major in merchandising and hospitality management, Spears was an intern in North Texas athletic marketing and promotions last year. Prior to that, she was residence assistant for two and a half years at Crumley Hall and was a member of the Talons, eventually becoming president in 2010.
"It was a lot of fun," she said. "I got to light the tower, and I was on the front row for games in any sport."
She was also on the crew for Boomer, the cannon operated by the Talons at every North Texas home football game.
"You don't realize how much power it has until you pull the cord," she said. "It is the coolest thing I've done."
The alumni invasion of the North Texas Athletic Department is not by accident. While having attended North Texas is not the determining factor in any hire, it has been recognized as desirable. In my own experience, interviewing last fall, the preference for an alumnus was mentioned more than once.
The athletic department's thinking is that by hiring former students, it's getting employees with a built-in passion for their employer and their job.
"I've come full circle," Spears said. "I've been promoting on campus and figuring out ways to communicate with the students, and I've wanted to do events. Now I'm doing that here, so I feel a lot more connected."
Pre-Season Football Practices Closed
The football team begins its pre-season practices on August 6. However, all practices are closed to the public, per coach Dan McCarney's long-standing policy. Pre-season scrimmages have not been scheduled, but those are also closed to the public. MeanGreenSports.com will provide coverage of the scrimmages.
Pedestrian Bridge Update
Work on the pedestrian bridge - which is being built by the Texas Department of Transportation - across 35E between the Fouts parking lot and Apogee Stadium is progressing. The iron spans that will stretch across the highway are taking shape, and crews have begun painting the retaining walls on either side of the highway.
Later this week, the bridge work will necessitate the partial closing of 35E and/or the frontage roads. Here's the schedule as provided by TxDOT.
Friday, July 27, 10 p.m.-8 a.m. - northbound service road closed at the North Texas Blvd entrance ramp to the Bonnie Brae exit ramp.
Saturday, July 28, 10 p.m.-9 a.m. - both directions main lanes of 35 closed at North Texas Blvd northbound and Oak for southbound. Work is likely to take the full 11 hours.
Sunday, July 29, 8 p.m.-6 a.m. - southbound service road closed at Bonnie Brae.
David Pyke is a 1982 graduate of North Texas, the creator of the website meangreenworld.com, a former journalist and a member of the media-relations staff of the UNT Athletic Department. He offers an inside view of happenings in and around Mean Green athletics.