Nice gesture: Mean Green to honor alum 'Mean' Joe Greene with statue

When North Texas Mean Green fans come to Apogee Stadium on Sept. 29, "Mean" Joe Greene will be waiting for them.

North Texas today announced plans to build a statue of Greene, a former All-American at the school and a Pro Football Hall of Famer, at the main gate of the stadium. The statue will be unveiled Sept. 29, before the Mean Green host Louisiana Tech.

"For over 50 years, Joe Greene has made a tremendous impact on our university and the athletic program," athletic director Wren Baker said in a prepared statement. "As a football player, as an alumnus and as a regent, he has made significant contributions to this campus and brought great honor to the Mean Green family. He is one of the greatest defensive linemen in the history of football and he's one of us. We are very excited to recognize Joe's achievements and contributions with this statue."

Greene earned consensus All-America honors for North Texas in 1968 before the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him fourth overall in the 1969 NFL draft. In 1983, Greene became the first black person appointed to North Texas' board of regents. In May, the regents approved a new campus residence hall to be named after Greene, 71.

Despite his deep ties to the program, the "Mean Green" nickname is not related to Greene.

The 8-foot bronze statue will be mounted on a 4-foot pedestal. Brian Hanlon, who has sculpted statues of Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal, will build the Greene statue.

"I am overwhelmed by the thought of a Joe Greene statue at the University of North Texas," Greene said in a prepared statement. "It is beyond my wildest expectations that the university thought enough of me as a player and a person to bestow such an honor to me and my family. It will be special for my kids, grandkids and all the generations that follow to see their father and grandfather displayed in such a manner."

North Texas also will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for its future indoor football practice facility on Sept. 29.