DENTON, Texas — In honor of the program’s 100th anniversary, the North Texas Mean Green football team will wear throwback jerseys for their August 31 season opener against Idaho at Apogee Stadium.
The jerseys, which were introduced at a Monday afternoon press conference at the stadium, incorporate elements from the golden eras of Mean Green football-the Abner Haynes era of the late 1950s, the Mean Joe Greene era (1966-1968), the Hayden Fry era (1973-1978) and the recent four-year bowl streak under Darrell Dickey (2000-2004).
“We went back and kind of scoured through old yearbooks and looked at different uniforms from different eras and feel good about what we came up with that it’s representative of the period,” UNT athletic director Rick Villarreal said.
Junior offensive lineman Cyril Lemon modeled the retro jersey and the Marble Falls native had great things to say about the different look he and his UNT teammates will don when the Vandals visit Denton at the end of August.
“I love the retro jersey. The thing I like about it the most is it’s our hundred-year anniversary and it pretty much gets all the eras in one jersey,” Lemon said. “I was expecting like a jersey from one era, but this gets all of them into one. That’s what I like about it most.”
UNT head coach Dan McCarney handpicked Lemon to model the jersey at Monday’s event something the junior lineman considers a big honor.
“I was just trying to make it look good because usually they don’t have o-lineman modeling jerseys,” Lemon said. “Coach just picked me. I’m honored that I get to represent the jersey.”
Fans will also have a chance to own one of the game-worn jerseys through an online auction on the UNT Athletics website in the near future.
One of the more notable Mean Green alums, George Dunham, UNT’s radio voice for football and basketball for a number of years but is best known for being one half of the highly-rated Dunham and Miller morning show on Sportsradio 1310 The Ticket, definitely likes what his alma mater has done to commemorate 100 years of Mean Green football.
“Yeah, I like the concept of paying tribute to different eras because I think there is a pretty interesting history here from Abner’s days to Mean Joe’s days and even something more recent as the bowl run. I really like that color,” Dunham said. “That color, to me not only says the bowl success under Darrell Dickey but to me that really does flash Mean Joe. I’ve seen a lot of those shots in black-and-white but the few color shots that I’ve seen I think that’s very close to the forest green that North Texas wore in the 60s. And to me, that was really the heyday, crossing over from Otis Mitchell to Rod Rust. They were really Mean Joe’s days and that color to me just smacks Mean Joe and Mean Green.”
The man who has a multitude of nicknames like the Commander and Georgio admits he will definitely bid in the online auction of the jerseys, but added that he will hope to win the bidding for one jersey in particular.
“Oh absolutely, yeah. I might try to at least get No. 54, my son’s number. But yeah, I think they’ll be very popular,” Dunham said. “I think that’s very sharp, really pops too. Really like it.”