2013-14 Athletic Success
North Texas boasts a history of stellar athletes and teams that includes national champions, Olympic medalists and Hall of Famers. North Texas greats such as Abner Haynes, Don January, "Mean" Joe Greene, Hayden Fry, and Elmer and Delmer Brown charted a course that has been navigated over recent years by standouts Marilyn Marin, Chris Davis, Patrick Cobbs, Jalie Mitchell, Jamario Thomas, Casey Fitzgerald and many others.
Since 2001, Mean Green teams have been a part of five bowl games and have participated in NCAA postseason soccer, swimming, tennis, track and golf championships, as well as the NCAA basketball tournament twice.
North Texas entered its first year as a member of Conference USA and showed that the Mean Green belonged to be there with two second-place team finishes and a bowl invitation. Individually, 50 Mean Green student-athletes were named all-conference during the 2013-14 school year, four Mean Green athletes received specialty conference awards, and a track athlete was named an All-American.
In the first Conference USA Championship of the season, the North Texas cross-country teams hosted the event and started the school year off on the right foot. The men's team finished second, while the women's squad took third. Jo Adams finished third overall on the women's side and went on to earn all-region honors with a 17th-place finish at NCAA Regionals.
A new conference did not stop the soccer team from continuing its winning tradition. North Texas came just one win away from its fourth NCAA tournament berth in the last 10 years. The Mean Green lost in the finals of the conference tournament after receiving a No. 2 seed. The game was NT's 10th conference tournament finals since the 2000 season. North Texas kept its consecutive winning seasons streak alive at 19.
Senior Kelsey Hodges and freshman Rachel Holden led the way for the Mean Green, both earning NSCAA All-Region First Team recognition as well as C-USA offensive and defensive player of the year honors, respectively. Holden was also named freshman of the year, and senior Vanessa Ibewulke was selected for the all-conference third team.
Bowl Bid For Mean Green Football
The football team snapped a 10-year drought with a bowl invitation to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. The Mean Green won only its third bowl game in school history by defeating UNLV and quarterback Derek Thompson was named the MVP. In the inaugural season in Conference USA, North Texas won six conference games, the second most in school history and finished the season at home with a 5-1 mark. North Texas won nine games in 2013, tying for the second most in school history.
The Mean Green had 14 all-conference selections, tied for the second-most in school history. Brelan Chancellor was only the second player in C-USA history to earn first-team all-conference as kick and punt returner. He was also named special teams player of the year. Zach Orr, Marcus Trice and Cyril Lemon were also named first-team all-conference.
Senior Alzee Williams and junior Jordan Williams paved the way for the North Texas basketball team to take a step forward in its first year in the revamped Conference USA. Both athletes joined the North Texas 1,000-point club during the regular season. Alzee scored his 1,000th point on Feb. 20 against FIU before Jordan joined him five days later against UTSA. Alzee finishes his Mean Green career 18th in all-time scoring with 1,064 points and Jordan is right behind him in 19th with 1,045 and still has another year to go.
North Texas finished with 16 wins on the year, and a 16-16 record. Only 18 teams in North Texas history have posted 16 or more wins, and this is just the 30th .500 season by a Mean Green team since World War II. The win total is a four-game improvement over the injury-plagued 2012-13 season, which saw NT players miss 82 games due to injury - the third most in the country.
The swimming and diving team had two divers compete at the national level. Seniors Rebecca Taylor and Catherine Johnson both advanced to the NCAA Zone D Diving Championships for the fourth time in their careers.
The tennis team also had a solid spring season. Overcoming injuries and featuring a squad with four newcomers, the squad advanced to the semi-finals of the conference tournament, falling to nationally-ranked Rice. Kseniya Bardabush and Anastasiya Shestakova were named first-team all-conference as singles players.
Collins Named All-American
Track & field sent 12 athletes to the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds. Chastity Stewart and Clinton Collins both qualified for the NCAA Championship Meet. Stewart placed ninth in the 400-meter hurdles with her time of 57.74, a North Texas record. In the 400 meters, Collins placed second in his heat, automatically advancing to the championship meet. His time of 45.85 was just shy of a personal best and placed him eighth overall.
At the NCAA Championships, Collins finished his career at North Texas with a 15th-place finish in the semifinal round of the men's 400. The 15th place-finish earned him second-team USTFCCCAAll-American honors.
The track and field program has had an athlete earn All-American honors for the last three years. In the 400-meter hurdles, Chastity Stewart finished the 2014 season with a 24th-place finish. As a junior, Stewart held the top-five fastest times in North Texas history, including her record-breaking performance of 57.74 from the C-USA Championship.
Softball Shatters Records
In its first season under head coach Tracey Kee, the Mean Green softball team made history, shattering several team records, receiving three all-conference selections and being awarded its first specialty award recipient en route to a program-best 31 games. The Mean Green fell in the semi-finals of the conference tournament to top-seeded Tulsa.
Leading North Texas in her final year was senior ace pitcher Ashley Kirk, who shattered every major North Texas pitching record during her 22-win season, a program-best mark. She struck out 214 batters, breaking her own single-season team record, and she concluded her career with 61 wins in 100 starts, both team records. She was named second-team All-Conference USA.
Brooke Foster was named first-team all-conference for the first time in her career, and Kat Strunk and Spencer Ferrell were also named to the all-conference team. Strunk, a transfer from NCTC, was named Conference USA Newcomer of the Year.