If you happen to browse the most popular UNT-centric message board you might have noticed the concern over UTSA and its progress toward prominence. That isn’t to say that UTSA is making large steps toward prominence. Well, none that are amazing. The basketball team is in the NCAA tournament again and won a play-in game. The football team begins play in the fall. They join the struggling WAC conference in 2012.
All cool stuff if you are a Road Runner, are from SA, or root for them because of some ties, family or otherwise. Nothing that hasn’t been seen before, though.
Why are we afraid?
UTSA is very similar in both population, community support, perception and even endowment. Both schools are in the 30K range in student population, are or were fighting the stigma of being long time commuter schools, hit-and-miss athletic performances and are not rich.
There. With momentum seemingly in UTSA’s favor, surely they will ride it to success? Probably not. The audacity of Lynn Hickey, UTSA’s athletic director, to move so quickly into full FBS status when so many have struggled even after maintaining successful FCS programs for years no doubt rankles some.
I can’t say if UTSA’s plan is a smart one. It is bold. Some people don’t like bold. Especially fans of teams that have struggled so often and are perennially “on the verge of success” like UNT.
It is understandable that we as a fan base are looking at a program with an excited (and minting new blowhards by the day) fan base and get a little jealous. After 94 seasons of mediocrity with blips of relative success, it is only natural to get a little miffed at the boasts of an upstart proclaiming their planned awesomeness. We are the grumpy old men who like to boast of what could have been.
If only. If only.
When UT-San Antonio was founded on the fifth of June, 1969, we were in the offseason following Rod Rust’s second season in the midst of what would become a .476 career record in Denton.
In the time before Rod, UNT had four coaches who managed a better-than .500 winning percentage. Since, they have squeaked out only the revered Hayden Fry and his .629 mark. (Jerry Moore went exactly .500.)
Long story short: UNT has been pitiful. The die-hards and long-timers will tell you all about the “great” defenses of the Dickey era and how, when the circumstances are considered, the records don’t tell the entire story.
They have a point.
It still doesn’t inspire fan appreciation. Dallasites are stereotypically fickle, fake and fans of shiny things. Cranking out boring football and losing seasons did not grow the fan base outside of those long-timers with stories and a soft spot for Saturdays full of disappointment. It is our legacy. Losing at North Texas is what was done, at both football and basketball, all the way until Johnny Jones decided he liked winning better.
The past is the past. It can be overcome. The losses have no doubt hindered our abilities to attract students with pure allegiances and our endowment has no doubt suffered for it.
Just as the start of a new season holds the promise of possibility, of what could be, of hope, so does the start of the tenure of a new coaching staff.
Yes we can and all that.
The easy solution to our problems is just to win. On our end, there isn’t much to do other than offer support. Do that. Enjoy the wins and don’t be so damn cynical. Don’t be a hater. Quit comparing the team to other squads.
If you really need the advice women’s magazines give then here it is: be the best you you can be. Don’t compare yourself to other [programs].
There is nothing to be gained from hating on UTSA. Nothing. Unless it is good old fashioned rivalry hate.
Even that can get stupid, though so just watch yourself. You don’t want to end up killing 100-year old trees like that ‘Bama guy.