Catching up with some of the greats (including The Great Darrell Dickey)

We will have a story this Sunday on Johnny Quinn, a former UNT wide receiver who will compete in the Olympics in the bobsled.

I talked to a few people who were at UNT when Quinn was on his way to becoming one of the great players in program history.

A couple had a some interesting things to say …

– Zach Muzzy, one of the other receivers at UNT during Quinn’s time at the school, is now the wide receivers coach at Clear Creek in Houston after spending some time on the staff at Alvin, his alma mater.

Muzzy and his wife Amanda Neal, a former UNT swimmer, have a couple of kids now.

The kicker is that Muzzy got a good look at UNT quarterback signee Connor Means last season. Muzzy’s team played Deer Park, Means’ high school team:

“He’s a big kid who can run,” Muzzy said. “He hurt us with his legs. He has the size you look for and is a dual-threat guy. He doesn’t throw a bad ball and was limited a little by what he had at receiver last year. He is big enough to stand there and can also take off. He’s not an athlete who is going to out run a lot of people, but he can get positive yards.”

– I talked to Quinn while he was training in Germany. He’s looking forward to the opportunity to compete in the Olympics and credits his experiences at UNT for helping prepare him for a chance to represent his country (We will have more on that in Sunday’s paper).

– Matt Phillips stuck around after his carer at UNT and now works in administration, but I had forgotten this little tidbit: Phillips’ first collegiate touchdown pass was to Quinn in a game at Kansas State.

– And finally, former UNT head coach Darrell Dickey was out on the road recruiting. He is still on the staff at Memphis. Dickey followed UNT this season and caught the Heart of Dallas Bowl. In a classic Dickey-ism, Darrell said he loved the black uniforms. Most of the readers of this blog know the story, but Dickey broke out some surprise black uniforms for his last game at UNT. Some UNT fans will never get over that one.

Personally, I always liked Dickey. And quite frankly, UNT wouldn’t be where it is today without what he and guys like Quinn did during the bowl run from 2001-04. Those four straight Sun Belt Conference titles helped UNT establish solid footing on what is now the FBS level. People forget this, but Jim McIngvale gave UNT $1 million that was the seed donation for the Mean Green Athletic Center largely because of his friendship and respect for Dickey. The athletic center was the first step toward UNT eventually building Apogee Stadium.

There are a lot of people who deserve a ton of credit for how far UNT has come. Any honest assessment would put Dickey and his players from those bowl teams on that list.

A few of them who played with Quinn are still following along with what UNT is up to today.

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