Let us first acknowledge that this post did not go out in the morning and so there is a misnomer here. Sure. Let’s call it a special edition of the Morning Report that comes out in the afternoon. It all started when I forgot I had an eye-exam scheduled at 8am. The day has been non-stop since. My lunch hour was even filled with errands. So it goes.
Ross Hodge was named the head coach — 19th in school history — after the departure of Grant McCasland to Texas Tech. This was unsurprising. Back when McCasland had the earliest success we already speculated that Hodge would be the guy to replace him if North Texas needed someone in a pinch. There is a lot to like about Hodge, including his resume of winning as a head coach, his basketball mind, and his relationships with current and former players. His hiring was universally praised by coaches, players, parents, and fans. He will take over a program that just won the NIT, arguably the most prestigious title possible, short of the national title. The squad moves to the American next season, where the likes of Memphis, SMU, and oh yeah FAU are all waiting to crush any dreams. While we wrote back in 2021 that C-USA deserved more respect, it was an argument not so powerful then as it was this season when the league hung two banners and had one Final Four participant (which was one miss away from a national title game). The American is taking both the NIT and CBI winners (NT, and CLT) along with UAB and Rice (NIT runner-up and CBI quarterfinalist). Oh and UTSA. Add to that the AAC’s collection of basketball-focused programs with history and passion and Hodge will have his hands full. The rumors are that his great relationships with the players may mean we see a return of Aaron Scott and Rubin Jones.
Jason Burton is the new women’s head coach. Yes, if you are counting both Jalie Mitchell and Grant McCasland arrived and left at the same time, under very different circumstances. While the women’s Final Four is dominating the nation’s headlines right now, C-USA women’s basketball was mostly dominated by Rice and Middle in the last decade. North Texas made a couple of runs here and there, and the WNIT run was fun. There have been moments, but not enough. Mitchell left, and Burton is the man to lead the program into the future. He has a nice resume at TAMU-Commerce, under some tough situations that involved a lot of buy games. He will have more resources here, but really most people just want a respectable program.
Meanwhile, spring practice is on for football. Every spring is filled with platitudes and clichés. Everyone is getting better, and everyone is working hard. That is how it works. The most notable news is the chatter from the recruiting team. Not only is NT’s social media team more active compared to the Littrell group, it has been notable for getting some big local names. Eric Morris has a nice base of operations and is working toward his vision. He has done it before at UIW, and here at MGN we expect big things.