UNT plays Fouts Field finale against Kansas State
The college home of ''Mean'' Joe Greene, and the backdrop of the Fightin' Armadillos with supermodel Kathy Ireland as their kicker, will be hosting its final game.
North Texas (3-8) plays for the last time at 58-year-old Fouts Field on Saturday against Kansas State (6-5), whose coach Bill Snyder spent three seasons there early in his career.
''I'm sure it will bring back some memories,'' said Snyder, an assistant on Hayden Fry's staff from 1976-78. ''I coached at North Texas State when it was called North Texas State.''
That was during a stretch when the Mean Green had a 26-7 overall record and lost only once at home - during a snow storm to Florida State and its first-year coach, Bobby Bowden, in 1976.
Those were some of the successful days at North Texas, which is wrapping up its sixth consecutive losing season since winning four straight Sun Belt titles (2001-04). Coach Todd Dodge was fired last month after 3 1/2 miserable seasons (6-37) and replaced by offensive coordinator Mike Canales, who is 2-2 as interim coach.
Canales is a candidate to keep the job after this season. Other candidates include former TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione, former Tulsa and Louisville coach Steve Kragthorpe and former Iowa State coach Dan McCarney.
Whoever gets the North Texas job will oversee the team's move next season across Interstate 35 into a new, 30,000-seat stadium.
Kansas State is already bowl-eligible, but has lost its last two games.
''More than anything, we just have to finish strong. These last two games have been a skid that none of us wanted to take,'' quarterback Collin Klein said. ''We have to stop the bleeding, get back on track and finish the season strong, not only for the bowl game, but for next year.''
Before he was a Hall of Fame defensive tackle who played on four Super Bowl-winning teams with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Joe Greene was a three-year starter for North Texas (1966-68).
It was during the 1966 season when fans, whose teams were known as the Eagles, adopted the Mean Green nickname, referring to the tenacious defense and the school color.
The defensive tackle earned his ''Mean Joe'' nickname as a rookie with the Steelers in 1969, by fans there who mistakenly thought the North Texas nickname Mean Green was a direct reference to him instead of the entire team.
Ireland was in the 1991 movie ''Unnecessary Roughness,'' which was filmed at North Texas. The film also featured Scott Bakula as a 34-year-old college quarterback.
Kansas State's first visit to North Texas was originally scheduled within the first month of the season, but was pushed back at the request of the Wildcats so they wouldn't have to play 12 consecutive weeks.