Name: McCain, Fred (1923-2013)

Historical Note:

Fred Noel McCain (1923-2013) was a former North Texas State University quarterback, coach/assistant coach to the North Texas football team, director of the University of North Texas coliseum, and director of UNT athletics.

Born on January 7, 1923 in Gainsville, Texas, Fred McCain is widely considered to be one of the most influential football players and coaches in North Texas history. The UNT Hall of Fame alumnus began his involvement at North Texas in 1941 as a starting quarterback. His football career was interrupted by a tour in the United States Navy as an officer from 1943 to 1946 in World War II. Upon his return, McCain resumed his studies at NTSU and proceeded to lead the North Texas football team to win the 1946 Optimist Bowl, and gain entry the 1948 Salad Bowl.

After graduating with his Bachelor’s in 1948 and receiving his Masters in 1949, McCain returned home to Gainsville to become the local high school’s assistant coach until 1950 when he was recruited by NTSU as a freshman and offense coach under Odus Mitchell. During his twenty-one year long career coaching football players, McCain played a central role in integrating Abner Haynes and Leon King into the NTSU football program, making North Texas one of the first universities in the state to integrate African Americans into collegiate athletics.

In 1972, McCain retired from coaching to serve as a temporary director of athletics until 1973 when he took the job as director of UNT’s coliseum. It was in 1982 when the University decided McCain was needed back as the Athletic Director, “We had one foot in the grave when Fred first came in. The biggest thing he did was keep the athletic department from sinking.” –NTSU Sports Information Director Doug Ray, 1987

In 1987 McCain retired after 46 years at North Texas. In addition to the accomplishments above, McCain coached future professional footballers such as Vernon Cole and Joe Greene, was an avid member of the Talons fraternity, and established the Eagle Wing newsletter for former UNT athletes, cheerleaders, spirit groups and yell leaders.

On February 26, 2013 at the age of 90, Fred McCain passed away. He was survived by his wife Mary Lou Ray, and adult children Karen McCain-Otto and Ray Noel McCain. He is buried in the Fairview Cemetery in his hometown of Gainsville, Texas.

Records or Manuscript Collections Created by McCain, Fred

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