All-Century Countdown: The Selection Process
It took two months of research, voting and tabulating, culminating in a final meeting to select the North Texas All-Century Football Team. Here's how the team was chosen.
All-Century Team To Be Revealed April 13
The All-Century Team will be unveiled Saturday, April 13, at the Hall of Fame Induction Luncheon in Apogee Stadium’s club level prior to the Green-White Football Game, and at halftime of the Green-White game. Click here for more information on the April 13 event.
It took two months of research, voting and tabulating, culminating in a final meeting to select the North Texas All-Century Football Team. Here’s how the team, which will be revealed April 13 at the Green-White Spring Game, was chosen.
The process of selecting the All-Century Team began with a dig through records and media guides, a search which resulted in a preliminary list of nominees. The list was then circulated through several members of the Athletic Department, and more names were added.
The list was then submitted to a larger panel outside the Athletic Department, including lettermen, Hall of Fame members, prospective All-Century finalists such as Joe Greene, Bill Carrico and Lance White, and long-time observers of Mean Green football. This panel suggested only one additional name, and it was added to the list of finalists.
The next question was how many players to put on the team. Rather than arbitrarily decide between a 4-3 or a 3-4 defense, we went with four defensive linemen and four linebackers to go along with four defensive backs. With 12 on defense, the choice was made to also have 12 on offense, and the extra starter was added at running back because of the Mean Green’s great history at the position. Add a punter, placekicker, return specialist and coach, and the team was set at 28 roster spots.
The voting process began February 6, national signing day, and in five weeks 11,200 votes were cast. What appeared to be a landslide at a few positions changed in the final two weeks, but throughout, fans showed a great deal of respect and knowledge of past Mean Green stars rather than just voting for those players they remembered.
The final vote totals will not be released. There are multiple reasons, including not wanting to reveal who finished last at any position, but primarily because the voting was beset with ballot-box stuffing, especially in the final hours. The online system allowed people to vote multiple times, but the hope was that votes would be registered one at a time over the course of days. A handful of voters, however, took advantage of the online system to press through dozens and dozens of votes in a matter of minutes. In one instance, a single computer registered 16 votes in one minute, while another computer submitted 99 votes in 12 minutes.
Fortunately, each vote had a date and time stamp, and so the ballot-box stuffing was clearly visible. All votes – including the ballot-box stuffers – were counted, but the ballot-stuffing was taken into consideration in the final determination of the team.
The Final Committee
The final committee met on March 13, and consisted of North Texas broadcasting legend Bill Mercer, sports writer Randy Cummings, sportscasters and North Texas grads Dave Barnett and George Dunham, CBS 11 executive sports producer and NT grad William Killeen, former Mean Green quarterback Matt Phillips, deputy athletic director Hank Dickenson, sports-information director Eric Capper, assistant athletic director for marketing & promotions Jamie Adams, and media-relations assistants and North Texas grads Steven Bartolotta and David Pyke.
Each member was armed with the final vote totals. Player bios and statistics were scattered about the conference table as discussion moved from one position to the next in a deliberation approached earnestly by all involved.
"I took it very seriously," Barnett said. "It's as big an honor as North Texas can give. We had a lot of proud moments and guys who needed to be on the team, and I wanted to do my part."
The fan vote certainly shaped the decisions and moved several committee members to more closely examine players they had not previously considered.
"You had to take note of the players the fans voted for," Barnett said.
The committee found itself in unanimous agreement on the majority of the team, and that opinion concurred with the fans’ selections on the vast majority of the roster. At few positions, most notably offensive line, linebackers and defensive backs, the vote was evenly spread over several players and closer examination and thorough discussion of the nominees was required.
One of the biggest hurdles the committee faced was comparing players from different generations and different levels of competition. How do you compare a player from the I-AA days with a player from Missouri Valley days, or a player with great stats from a bad team against players from good teams?
"Those were the hardest decisions," Capper said. “We had to depend on those who actually saw those players.”
"It gave me reason to think back on the very earliest teams I watched," Barnett said.
By the meeting's end, the committee felt satisfied with the team that had been assembled.
"It was an intriguing and exciting opportunity to take part in the process," Killeen said. "The talent represented among the field of finalists provided many debates, discussions and difficult decisions. In the end, I think that the outpouring of votes from the public, as well as the debates among the committee, provided a great group that represents North Texas football over the last 100 years."