When North Texas hired Dan McCarney to be its 18th head football coach, the Mean Green knew it was getting a wealth of coaching experience. But McCarney’s 30-plus years were just the beginning.
The Mean Green’s 12-man staff has a combined 267 years of collegiate coaching experience, the vast majority of it at the Division I level. McCarney’s staff has coached in BCS conferences, BCS bowl games, and with national-championship winners.
They have prepared players for the National Football League, have coached in the NFL and Canadian Football League, and have played in the NFL. All 12 coaches played college football and played in bowls or playoff games.
They have 80 bowl appearances in more than 30 different bowls - including all of the BCS games - and have been a part of three national champions.
There is no part of college football this staff has not experienced.
Dan McCarney brought more than 30 years of college coaching experience to North Texas when he became the Mean Green head coach in November, 2010.
McCarney began as an assistant under Hayden Fry at Iowa, taking a team with no winning seasons in 19 years to eight bowl games. He then became defensive coordinator at Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez, where they turned a losing program into a Big 10 champion and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl.
In 1995, McCarney became head coach at Iowa State, leading the Cyclones to their first nine-win season in 94 years and first bowl win. He was Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2004 and remains the winningest coach in Iowa State history.
McCarney was also assistant head coach at Florida under Urban Meyer, where he crafted a dominant defensive line that led the Gators to two SEC titles and a national championship.
Mike Canales has made a career of developing quarterbacks, coaching five different QBs to All-America honors.
Canales began his career at Brigham Young under legendary offensive coach Norm Chow. At North Carolina State, he developed quarterback Phillip Rivers and wide receiver Jericho Cotchery, both of whom went on to the NFL. As offensive coordinator at South Florida, Canales's offense helped the Bulls to a No. 2 national ranking and led the Big East in scoring in 2008. Canales was also receivers coach for the New York Jets.
When Dan McCarney was hired as the North Texas head coach, Canales was McCarney’s first hire. In 2011, Canales oversaw the growth of starting quarterback Derek Thompson, who threw for 1,759 yards, and running back Lance Dunbar, who became only the sixth player in NCAA history to have 4,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving.
John Skladany has been coaching defense for more than 30 years and as a defensive coordinator for 20 years.
He was Dan McCarney’s defensive coordinator at Iowa State when the Cyclones played in five bowl games, paced by Skladany’s defense which held opponents to lows in scoring and rushing yards while forcing turnovers at a dramatic rate.
Skladany was also defensive coordinator at Central Florida and Houston. At UH, Skladany helped the Cougars to two bowl appearances and the 2009 C-USA West Division title. At UCF, Skladany led the Knights to their first Conference USA title in 2007. The Knights were tops in C-USA in sacks with 39 and had a school-record 24 interceptions. In his last season before joining North Texas, Skladany’s UCF defense was ranked ninth in the nation in total and scoring defense and in the top 25 in five categories.
Nick Quartaro has spent most of his coaching career in program building - with dramatic results.
Quartaro was assistant head coach under Dan McCarney when they turned around Iowa State, and was associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Kansas when the Jayhawks attained bowl games and national rankings. He was also part of the greatest reclamation project in NCAA history with Bill Snyder at Kansas State, taking the Wildcats from perennial loser status to BCS bowls.
As a head coach, Quartaro revitalized a moribund Drake program and built a winner at Fordham.
He also worked under former NFL head coach Dennis Green at Northwestern, coaching punter John Kidd and special-teams standout Steve Tasker, both of whom went on to the NFL.
Mike Nelson is one of the most experienced coaches in Texas, with over 40 years in major-college programs and 30 years coaching defensive line.
Nelson's extensive career includes stops at Virginia, Ball State, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas State, Stanford, Rutgers, Oregon State, Iowa State and San Diego State, along with four years in the Canadian Football League.
Like several members of the Mean Green Staff, Nelson worked with Dan McCarney at Iowa State, where he coached the defensive line from 1997-2006 and tutored five all-Big 12 Conference selections. Nelson's 2005 defensive front ranked 12th nationally in rushing defense, and his 1998 squad recorded a school-record 32 sacks.
Nelson began his career at Southern Illinois in 1969. He coached linebackers at Wisconsin and defensive line for head coach Dennis Green at Stanford.
Ryan Walters has learned his art in major-conference BCS programs, most recently at Oklahoma.
Walters began his coaching career in 2009 as a student assistant at Colorado, then was a graduate assistant at Arizona. After just one season, he was promoted to defensive backs coach. A change at head coach cut loose the entire Wildcat staff, and, though they did not have an opening for a full-time coach, the Sooners quickly grabbed Walters, putting him on staff as a graduate assistant coaching cornerbacks.
Walters played college ball at Colorado, where he started in 33 games in four seasons and played in 46 games, earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors from and first-team All-Colorado honors from the state's National Football Foundation chapter his senior year. A team captain in 2008, he was named by teammates as the team's MVP.
Mike Grant is in his second stint on the staff of Dan McCarney, for whom he coached wide receivers and running backs at Iowa State from 1998 to 2006.
Grant was a quarterback at Nebraska from 1988 to 1992, a span that saw the Huskers reach the Orange Bowl three times, the Fiesta Bowl, and the Citrus Bowl. He then got his coaching start at Nebraska as a graduate assistant, where his duties included coaching receivers, working as student assistant recruiting coordinator, and liaison to the football booster and athletic clubs.
From there, Grant coached at James Madison University before joining the staff at Iowa State. He has also coached at Southern Miss and Western Michigan, where he was assistant head coach.
Before coming to North Texas, Grant played or coached in 13 bowl games, including two national championships with Nebraska.
Noah Joseph came to North Texas after building one of the top secondaries in the nation at Montana State.
As the Bobcats’ Co-Defensive Coordinator and Defensive Back Coach, Joseph built a secondary that was first in the Big Sky Conference in pass-efficiency defense and pass defense, and ranked 18th and 22nd, respectively, in the nation in those categories.
In all five seasons at Montana State, Joseph coached a first- or second-team all-league cornerback or safety.
After his playing days at Drake (where he still holds the school record for the longest interception return, a 100-yard return in 1997), Joseph was a graduate assistant on Dan McCarney’s staff at Iowa State, where he earned a masters degree. He then coached the secondary at Eastern Illinois, producing one of the top pass-efficiency defenses in the nation in 2005.
Tommy Perry has nearly a decade of coaching experience and spent the last four seasons as an assistant at South Alabama, where he coached placekicker Michel Chapuseaux to a school-scoring record 84 points and 20 field goals, second most in Sun Belt history.
Perry spent three seasons at Alabama working as a graduate assistant then an intern, working under both Nick Saban and Mike Shula. The Crimson Tide went undefeated in the regular season in 2008, advancing to the SEC title game and the Sugar Bowl.
Perry began his coaching career as an assistant strength & conditioning coach at Texas in 2004, also serving as an academic advisor. Perry played college ball at Texas A&M and graduated in 2003 degrees in English and history. He was one of four players on the team who served as the program's 12th man.
Mike Simmonds is in his second stint with Dan McCarney and Mike Canales, with whom he worked at South Florida.
Simmonds began coaching after an illustrious playing career. He was an All-American at Indiana State, was drafted in the NFL by Tampa Bay, and played with the Bucanneers and the San Diego Chargers. He was inducted into the Indiana State Hall of Fame and was named to the Gateway Conference 1980s all-decade team.
He then embarked on a highly successful tenure as a high school coach, compiling a 75-29 record as head coach at Jefferson High in Florida. His entry into college coaching came at South Florida in 2006, where his line helped USF lead the Big East in total offense in 2008 with 405 yards per game and scoring with 27.6 points per game. He also coached offensive line at Indiana State before coming to North Texas.
Scotty Conley has spent more than 30 years in collegiate coaching. He arrived at North Texas in 2009 and was one of two members of that staff kept by Dan McCarney when he assembled his initial Mean Green staff.
After nine years as a high-school coach, including six years at Plano Senior High where he won a state title in 1977, Conley began his college career coaching running backs at Texas A&M. He then coached linebackers at the University of Texas. From there he coached at Kansas, Tennessee, Rice, Arkansas, and Howard Payne. In 1996, he became head coach at Trinity Valley and, in his four-year tenure, was named National Junior College Coach of the Year and won a national championship.
He then coached at Navy for two years before being hired as head coach at Texas A&M-Commerce.
Frank Wintrich was one Dan McCarney‘s early additions to his North Texas staff to upgrade the Mean Green’s conditioning and to take advantage of the outstanding facilities in the Mean Green Village.
Wintrich began his career at Utah State and was assistant strength coach at The Citadel before moving to South Florida.
He brings an aggressive strategy to strength training, not using on a cookie-cutter approach but personalizing each student-athlete’s program based on their conditioning, the position they play, and the team’s style of play. Although Wintrich’s program guides the student-athlete, it also educates and encourages the student-athlete to have input into his own workout.
The results at South Florida and the early results at North Texas have been dramatic - steadily increased conditioning has led to steadily increased on-field results.