North Texas hires UNC off. coordinator Littrell as coach
North Texas hired North Carolina offensive coordinator Seth Littrell as its head coach Saturday.
The school announced the move during halftime of the Tar Heels’ Atlantic Coast Conference championship game against Clemson. He will be introduced at a news conference in Denton, Texas, on Monday.
Littrell, 37, is an Oklahoma native who played running back on the Sooners’ 2000 national championship team. He is in his second season at North Carolina after serving as offensive coordinator at Indiana (2012-13) and Arizona (2010-11).
With several jobs still open in major college football, Littrell becomes the youngest coach in Conference USA and the fifth youngest in FBS.
North Texas went 1-11 this season, matching a school record for losses, and coach Dan McCarney was fired after an 0-5 start. The Mean Green have had one winning season in the past 11 years.
Under Littrell, North Carolina was second in the nation in yards per play at 7.46 entering Saturday.
Littrell started his coaching career as a graduated assistant at Kansas and worked at as running backs at Texas Tech from 2005-08 under Mike Leach.
North Texas just completed its third season in Conference USA, and plays in a 31,000-seat stadium that opened in 2011 at the intersection where Interstate 35 reconnects after splitting through Dallas and Fort Worth to the south. That means there are plenty of quality high school players in the immediate area, including two Denton high schools that have advanced to the quarterfinals this season in the Texas Class 6A playoffs.
There has never been a capacity crowd at the $78 million stadium, and the announced attendance for last Saturday’s season-ending 20-17 loss to UTEP was 8,305 — though there were far fewer people than that in the stadium on a dreary, rainy day. The average attendance this season was 13,631, UNT’s lowest since 1998.
North Texas is hoping Littrell can recreate the high-powered offenses he has guided at North Carolina and Indiana and bring the fans back to Mean Green games.
AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Waco, Texas, contributed to this report.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
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