After leading North Texas to the first nine-win season since 2003 and the first bowl victory since 2002, head coach Dan McCarney deserves to have a contract extension. According to the Associated Press, a five-year extension is imminent with lawyers reviewing the terms of the contract. Once approved, McCarney will be inked through the 2018 season at North Texas.
”What they did was, in putting a contract in place really, is showing appreciation for changing the culture at this place. It’s showing appreciation for how we do it, and the way we’ve done it on the field, in the classroom, in Denton, and how we handle things,” McCarney said according to the Associated Press. ”I think it’s a sign of support for all of my guys, all of my staff, my program, our program. … I appreciate that opportunity to stay here. I’m not looking to leave. I love this place.”
North Texas suffered through six straight losing seasons before McCarney took over the program in 2011. The Mean Green immediately improved on their season win total in his first season with five wins, two more than the previous season. North Texas took a step back in McCarney’s second season, but they roared back in their first season as a member in Conference USA in 2013. North Texas won six of their final seven games in the regular season and capped the year with a bowl victory over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
The contract extension has been believed to be in the works since the bowl victory, even though McCarney still has two years remaining on his current contract. The faith being shown by the university in McCarney and his staff is not to be overlooked. North Texas is a program that has long been attempting to break out of the shadows of larger universities within the state, which is difficult. Moving to Conference USA is a step in the right direction for the program, and with upcoming realignment changes impacting the conference it is not out of line to be thinking about North Texas as a program achieving sustained success within the conference for years to come.
The challenge for McCarney now is to build on what happened in the 2013 season and find ways to continue what worked and improve what did not.