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UNT Football Staffing Up

UNT Football Staffing
University of North Texas (UNT) Mean Green sign | Image by University of College/Shutterstock

University of North Texas’ new head football coach Eric Morris is wasting no time filling out his staff in Denton.

Morris has already hired nine assistants to his new staff, many from college programs all over the country, including the University of Alabama, Washington State, Iowa State, the University of Texas-Austin, and the University of Southern California (USC).

The new staff members fit the pillars Morris laid out in his introductory press conference last week as he told reporters he wanted to “hire the best staff in the country.” They have relationships and ties within the state of Texas, have been part of building successful programs, and have different strengths that complement each other.

Morris also noted in that press conference that his coordinators (offense, defense, and special teams) and his strength and conditioning staff would be critical for his vision of the Mean Green program.

Having admitted he will be the one calling the plays on offense, Morris has not hired an official coordinator on that side of the ball, and it is unclear if he plans to. However, he hired Iowa State defensive backs coach Matt Caponi as his defensive coordinator and Alabama assistant Drew Svoboda as his special teams coordinator.

Caponi spent four years with the Cyclones and helped their defense become one of the top units in the Big 12 Conference and finish 11th in the country in passing yards allowed this season. UNT was 108th in that category.

Svoboda has produced excellent special teams units at all his previous stops. While at Rice University in Houston in 2020, his unit finished as the 14th-best in the nation, according to Pro Football Focus, and Alabama kicker Will Reichard made all 98 of his kicks under Svoboda’s guidance in 2021. Svoboda was also once a high school coach in the Houston area.

Bryan Kegans has been hired as North Texas’s strength and conditioning coach, leaving Lincoln Riley’s staff at USC. Kegans has previously worked with the University of Oklahoma, the University of Texas-Austin, Texas Woman’s University, Denton Guyer High School, and Fulshear High School and is a former Texas Tech player.

Morris has also added coaches who have been with him for most of his coaching career. His first reported hires were quarterbacks coach Sean Brophy, wide receivers coach Jordan Davis, and Chief of Staff Rolando Surita — all of whom were with him at the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio and during his recent stint as offensive coordinator at Washington State.

Morris has also decided to keep running backs coach Patrick Cobbs, a UNT legend, on staff in the same role. Cobbs is second all-time in rushing yards at North Texas and has been on the staff since 2019. He spent six years on NFL rosters and has also coached at Denton Ryan High School.

Justin Owens, who began his career coaching several Dallas area high schools, has reportedly been hired as director of recruiting, a role in which he will get to use his experiences and cultivate relationships with local high school players.

The Mean Green has also hired Chris Gilbert, who was most recently director of high school relations at the University of Texas in Austin, as assistant head coach and tight ends coach. Gilbert has been a local high school coach at Lancaster, South Oak Cliff, and Terrell High Schools.

The University of North Texas confirmed the hires of Brophy, Svoboda, Surita, Cobbs, and Gilbert in a media release on Wednesday. The other hires have been widely reported, and the release did mention that other official hires will be announced soon.

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