Article Originally Published by Matthew Suarez on North Texas Daily
Article Originally Published by on North Texas Daily
For the first time since the 1977-78 academic year, all NCAA-sanctioned North Texas sports programs have accumulated a winning record within the same academic year, according to Wren Baker in a tweet. This accolade was made despite the Mean Green tennis team losing to the top-seed Old Dominion in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament.
“Winning breeds winning,” tennis head coach Sujay Lama said. “When everybody buys into this vision that [Wren Baker] has laid for us, it makes it so much more fun for us to do this together.”
As of April 23, the North Texas athletic department has a winning percentage of 61.6 percent. With softball being the only record-based sport remaining and having already clinched a winning record, the Mean Green have broken a record for most sports to maintain a winning record.
The first two programs to clinch a winning season were soccer and football. The Mean Green soccer team finished the season 15-3-3 and clinched their fifth straight C-USA championship. In the 2017 season, North Texas finished their season 14-4-4, clinching their fourth consecutive conference championship. Football went 9-4, missing out on a C-USA championship game, losing to No. 23 Utah State 52-13 in the New Mexico Bowl.
Their 9-3 regular season record was a repeat from their 2017 record. When their perfect season bid was broken up by Louisiana Tech in week five, the rest of the season was hindered by falters in the second half.
Volleyball finished their 2018 season at 19-17 after a historic 29-4 season, when a 13-1 conference record propelled the Mean Green to an automatic bid from the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. North Texas 11-3 conference record landed them in a four-way tie for second place in C-USA.
Swimming and diving finished their season 4-1 with wins over Little Rock, Texas Christian, Rice and Incarnate Word. This record was an improvement after their 3-3 performance from the 2017 season.
The Mean Green men’s basketball team had a historic start to their season under second-year coach Grant McCasland. They were plagued with injuries down the stretch of the season, which led to the team slowing down to close out the season. They won their first conference tournament game against Florida International and advanced to the second round of the tournament where they lost to Western Kentucky. Last season, North Texas secured their first winning season since 2013-14.
The women’s basketball team finished their season similarly to the men’s team. With an 18-16 record, North Texas helped senior guard Terriell Bradley climb the all-time scoring ladder up to third and surpass her head coach, Jalie Mitchell, in career free throws made. The Mean Green won their first-round matchup in the conference tournament against Southern Miss but fell short in the second round against No. 1 Rice 61-43. Following their loss, North Texas received a bid to the Women’s Basketball Invitational. Three wins brought the Mean Green to the tournament championship against Appalachian State, losing 76-59. Their second winning season of this decade came after a 20-18 season under the second year of Mitchell’s command.
The tennis program finished the season 13-11 after falling in the semifinal round of the C-USA tournament in Houston. The 2019 season was the first year North Texas tennis earned a winning record since 2016. The 2018 season found the Mean Green finishing with a 9-14 record, 3.5 games behind their current record.
“I think it’s great that we were the last team to solidify this,” senior Tamuna Kutubidze said.
The North Texas’ doubles team consisting of seniors Maria Kononova and Kutubidze clinched the feat for the Mean Green. The pair came into the tournament ranked No. 44 nationally among collegiate doubles teams and went 1-2 in the tournament. The duo was the top-ranked doubles team in C-USA, they will wait to see if they will earn a bid to the NCAA Doubles Championships.
“I feel like Maria and I did a good job of showing others that we can still do something even though we aren’t with the big schools in the Big 10 and SEC,” Kutubidze said. “We can still show what North Texas is capable of and now everyone is thirsty to do something — we’re leaving a legacy.
Softball’s record has placed them tied for second place in C-USA with Louisiana Tech. With five games left in the season, first-year head coach Rodney DeLong has a chance to secure a C-USA championship. Last season, under former head coach Tracey Kee, the Mean Green finished their season 25-27.
“These are very exciting times for the Mean Green,” Lama said. “We’re trying to take the next step as a sports program as a whole.”
Photo illustration by Jordan Collard
Source: North Texas Daily