Homecoming 2006 turned out to be one for the history books. And we’re not just talking about the Oct. 7 Mean Green game against Florida International University, which tied an NCAA record for most overtime periods played. A few others in the UNT community celebrated historic moments as well this year.
For instance, the Department of Journalism won the Departmental Spirit Award in the Homecoming parade for the fifth time in six years and still found time to celebrate the 90th birthday of the North Texas Daily student newspaper.
Eleven area bakeries vied for prizes in the Daily birthday cake decorating contest, with UNT Dining Services/ Verde winning best overall for its typewriter cake. The crowd at the Mean Green Village won, too, with free dessert.
A different anniversary was celebrated Oct. 6 as the Golden Eagles — who knew the Daily better by its pre-1970 name, the Campus Chat — gathered for their 50th reunion. Members of the 1956 class came from as far away as Alaska to reminisce about their North Texas days and catch up with old friends. (See the Eagle Tale for the campus memories of one 1956 graduate.)
The Golden Eagles were greeted by UNT President Gretchen M. Bataille, who was presiding over her first UNT Homecoming. She has made history of her own as the first woman president of the university.
On a slightly less historic note, groups entering the annual Homecoming Spirit Wall contest had the option for the first time this year of painting the walls. West Hall took full advantage of the creative freedom and placed first among residence halls with a “Down, Kitty” message for the FIU Panthers. Aglow with birthday wishes, the Daily placed first among organizations, and the first-place department prize went to the university’s internal auditors.
But no Homecoming activity topped the football game for sheer historic proportions. The Mean Green — the only remaining Division I-A team that had not played in an overtime game — came out ahead 25-22 after a record-tying seven overtime periods (Arkansas has played that long twice, winning against Mississippi and Kentucky).
The game set the NCAA record for most field goals attempted by two teams (16) in a single game, and UNT tied the NCAA record for most field goals attempted by an individual and a team in a single game. Mean Green kicker Denis Hopovac hit 5 of 9, including the 34-yard game winner that came almost 4.5 hours after the initial kickoff.
The Mean Green team and fans were elated — and exhausted — as they called Homecoming history.