Dan McCarney
Dan  McCarney

Head Coach


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Dan McCarney knows how to build football programs. He was a part of a historic turnaround at Iowa State, and now you can add North Texas to that list. McCarney has turned around North Texas and taken the program to heights that were unthinkable when he arrived in 2011.

On their way to the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl Championship, the Mean Green won nine games in 2013, tied for the second most in school history and just the sixth time in 100 years North Texas has won nine games. The season culminated with North Texas winning the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl 36-14 over UNLV on January 1.

In 2014 McCarney powered North Texas to a 43-6 win over rival SMU, just the fifth win for NT in 34 games against the Mustangs. North Texas posted 77 points in a game in 2014, the fourth-highest total in a game in school history. 2014 also saw one of McCarney’s first recruits at North Texas, offensive lineman Cyril Lemon, earn his fourth straight all-conference honor as he was named to the Conference USA first-team.

Lemon was the only player in the nation to start 49 straight games and earn all-conference honors in four straight years.  

McCarney led the Mean Green to a 6-2 record in the inaugural season in Conference USA, tying for second place and the second most conference wins in school history. Along the way, the Mean Green broke offensive, defensive, special teams and attendance records.

The Mean Green achieved the biggest single season turnaround since 1982-83. The North Texas offense set a new school record for total offense in a single season, topping the 5,000-yard mark for the first time. North Texas rushed for over 300-yards three times in 2013, which is the most in a season since 1959.

The North Texas defense allowed the fewest points per game since 2002, and tied for the second most sacks in school history.

McCarney is establishing a record of dominance at Apogee Stadium as North Texas has a home record of 16-7 at Apogee Stadium since 2011. The Mean Green went 5-1 at home in 2013, tying for the second most wins in school history. The three seasons before 2011, the Mean Green went just 1-16 at home.

McCarney has won 22 games at North Texas, which already ranks in the top-10 all-time as he enters the 2015 season eighth in coaching wins. McCarney reached 18 wins faster at North Texas than any coach since Rod Rust in 1967-69 after his first three seasons.

He has brought out the best individually at North Texas as the Mean Green had 12 players earn 14 spots on the C-USA all-conference team in 2013, the second most in school history. Brelan Chancellor became just the second player in league history to earn first-team all-conference honors as a kick and punt returner, and was the only player in the nation to rank in the top 10 in punt and kick returns in 2013.

The North Texas resurgence was fueled by all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. Under McCarney, the Mean Green ranked in the top 10 in the nation in 2013 in fourth down conversion defense (fifth), blocked kicks (first), blocked punts (first), blocked punts allowed (first), fumbles recovered (fourth), sacks allowed (seventh), punt returns (fifth), red zone defense (second), scoring defense (eighth), sacks (seventh) and turnovers (fourth).

With more than 30 years of college coaching experience, including 13 years as a head coach at Iowa State University, McCarney is an established leader. He came to North Texas after serving as the assistant head coach at the University of Florida where he had been since 2008. He helped win a national championship at Florida.

McCarney led Iowa State to five bowl games from 2000-05 and was named the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year in 2004 when his team earned a Big 12 North co-championship. In 119 years of football at Iowa State, only 17 teams have won seven or more games in a season and McCarney coached five of those.

McCarney began his coaching career at the University of Iowa, where he was an assistant under Fry for 11 years. He continued his career as the defensive coordinator at the University of Wisconsin under Alvarez, directing some of the best defensive teams in that schools history. In his 11 years with Fry at Iowa, their teams went to eight bowl games after not having a winning season the previous 19 years. At Wisconsin, McCarney helped turn a team that had won 10 games in five years into a Big 10 Conference championship and Rose Bowl appearance in his fourth year.

McCarney took over as head coach at Iowa State in 1995, assuming responsibility of a program that had enjoyed just three winning seasons in the 16 years prior to his arrival.

The year before McCarney became head coach at Iowa State, the Cyclones suffered through an 0-10-1 record. His rebuilding process at Iowa State took five years, but in his sixth season, he became the first head coach in the previous 94 years at Iowa State to win nine games in a season and gave the Cyclones their first-ever bowl victory and first bowl appearance in 23 years.

McCarney led Iowa State to five bowl games from 2000-05 and was named the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year in 2004 when his team earned a Big 12 North co-championship. In 119 years of football at Iowa State, only 17 teams have won seven or more games in a season and McCarney coached five of those.

McCarney remains the longest-tenured (141 games) and winningest (56 victories) head football coach in Iowa State history. His overall record in 13 years as the Cyclones head coach is 61-92.

After leaving Iowa State, McCarney spent one season as the assistant head coach at the University of South Florida, where his defensive line ranked third in the nation in tackles for loss. From 2008-10 at the University of Florida, McCarney helped guide the team to two Southeastern Conference Championship games and three bowl appearances.

His 2008 Florida team finished with a 13-1 record and won the BCS National Championship behind a defense that ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense and ninth nationally in total defense.

In all, McCarney has coached in 21 bowl games in 36 years as a collegiate coach, five of which are current BCS bowls. He has coached 22 players that have been drafted by the NFL, including nine that have gone in the first three rounds.

McCarney is a 1975 graduate of the University of Iowa where he was a three-year letterman on the offensive line and a team captain in 1974. He is married to his wife Margy and has three children, Jillian, Melanie and Shane.

Dan McCarney Personal Information

Birthday: July 28, 1953

Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa

Education: 1975 - Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education from the University of Iowa

Family: Married to Margy McCarney. Has three children: Jillian, Melanie, Shane.

Coaching Experience

2008-10 Florida (Assistant Head Coach, Defense/Defensive Line)

2007 USF (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line)

1995-2006 Iowa State (Head Coach)

1990-94 Wisconsin (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line)

1979-89 Iowa (Defensive Line)

1977-78 Iowa (Defensive Line GA)

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