North Texas is back in the market for a women’s basketball coach for the second straight year. When you think about it, UNT has hired quite a few coaches over the last few years.
Dan McCarney is just entering his second year with the football team. Karen Aston was around for just one season. Shanice Stephens was at UNT for three years before Aston got to town. Ken Murczek arrived at UNT in 2010 to take over the volleyball program. Carl Sheffield is in his first season back at UNT, this time as the Mean Green’s track coach.
Rick Villarreal said when he hired Aston, and on several occasions since, that UNT’s approach has changed when it comes to hiring coaches.
More often than not over the last few years, UNT has been able to hire head coaches who have been head coaches before – or at least have a lot of experience.
Or as Villarreal said a while back, UNT has been able to hire coaches, “Who have made the decisions instead of watching someone else make the decisions.”
McCarney was a head coach at Iowa State for 12 years.
Tennis coach Sujay Lama came to Denton before UNT changed its philosophy when it comes to hiring coaches, but he took Illinois to the NCAA tournament five times earlier in his career.
Murczek, Sheffield and swimming coach Joe Dykstra did not have prior head coaching experience, but they all had spent a ton of time as top college assistants.
So what does that indicate when it comes to UNT’s opening for a women’s basketball coach?
Bet on UNT looking for someone who has been a head coach before or at least been an assistant at a very high level for a long time.
If you look at UNT’s women’s programs at the moment, they all have one thing in common. They all have men for head coaches.
Jeff Mitchell in women’s golf, TJ Hubbard in softball and John Hedlund in women’s soccer (remember, trust in the Johns – (Jones in men’s basketball and Hedlund in soccer) join Dykstra, Lama and Murczek to round out UNT’s lineup of head coaches of women’s sports.
Even the two head coaches of sports with both men and women – Sheffield in track and Sam Burroughs in cross country are men.
Now, I don’t have a problem with men coaching women’s teams. Hedlund is arguably the most consistently successful coach on campus – along with Jones.
I just have a hard time believing that UNT will go down the road of hiring another male coach, even though Bill Brock from Baylor would be terrific.
There is also not an obvious coach to promote from the current staff. Jalie Mitchell is a terrific young coach, but likely needs more experience before she takes over a program. Angela Ortega is a really good college assistant coach who I would expect to end up at Texas with Aston.
So what does it all mean?
Look for UNT to go down the road that has worked out in the past by hiring a coach with Texas connections who has been a head coach before or at least been at the associate head coach level for a long time.