The new University of North Texas at Dallas athletics program, scheduled to begin competition this fall, has been officially invited to become a member of the Sooner Athletic Conference.
Conference commissioner Stan Wagnon informed UNT Dallas President Bob Mong that SAC presidents of the conference schools voted unanimously to extend the invitation that will make UNT Dallas the 12th member of the league.
“We are enthusiastic about being invited into the Sooner Athletic Conference,” Mong said. “The SAC not only provides UNT Dallas with instant local rivalries, but also with a reliable set of strong competition around the region."
Athletic Director Jack Allday said the SAC is an excellent fit for UNT Dallas.
“I also think UNT Dallas will bring a lot to the conference with our Dallas location and rapid growth," Allday said. "We’ll have two local rivalries, Texas Wesleyan in Fort Worth and Southwestern Assemblies of God in Waxahachie. It’s a good fit all the way around.”
UNT Dallas hired former Dallas Mavericks All-Star Josh Howard to lead the men's basketball team, former Plano High state championship coach Rodney Belcher as women’s basketball coach, and Kenneth Royal, former Roosevelt and Madison High coach, to head the men’s and women’s cross country and track programs.
“We’re right in the middle of one of the best recruiting areas in the United States,” Allday said. “Many of the student-athletes who have been leaving the area can now stay at home and compete in front of their families and friends. We’ve hired great coaches and recruiting is going very well. It’s exciting.”
Members of the NAIA-affiliated SAC, established in 1978, include Texas Wesleyan University, Wayland Baptist University, Central Christian College, John Brown University, Langston University, Mid-American Christian University, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma Panhandle State, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, Southwestern Assemblies of God University and Southwestern Christian University.
“UNT Dallas has demonstrated a sincere commitment toward establishing a successful athletics program, and it’s a tremendous opportunity for the Sooner Athletic Conference to come alongside President Mong and his team in forming a mutually beneficial partnership," Wagnon said. “All levels of SAC leadership are unanimous in support of bringing UNT Dallas into the fold, and we are excited about working with Athletic Director Allday and the UNT Dallas family to help both the Trailblazers and the conference achieve new heights.”