IOWA CITY, Iowa — Dan McCarney, a former University of Iowa player and assistant coach, will serve as honorary captain Saturday when No. 17 Iowa hosts Miami (Ohio) at Kinnick Stadium (2:32 p.m., ESPNU) in the 2016 season opener.
McCarney, a native of Iowa City and a graduate of City High School, lettered for the Hawkeyes from 1972-74, serving as a team captain during his senior season. He earned his degree from Iowa in 1975.
McCarney began his coaching career at Iowa, where he was an assistant under Hayden Fry for 11 years. He served as a graduate assistant in 1977 and 1978 before becoming defensive line coach. In his 11 years as a fulltime assistant the Hawkeyes went to eight bowl games after not having a winning season the previous 19 years.
Iowa earned two Big Ten titles (1981, 1985) with McCarney as the defensive line coach, appearing in the Rose Bowl following each of those seasons. Iowa also played in the Peach Bowl (twice), Gator Bowl, Freedom Bowl, and Holiday Bowl (twice) during his time as a fulltime assistant.
McCarney continued his career as the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin under Barry Alvarez. At Wisconsin, McCarney helped turn a team that had won 10 games in five years into a Big Ten champion and Rose Bowl participant in his fourth year.
McCarney left Wisconsin to become the head coach at Iowa State, a position he held for 13 seasons. McCarney led Iowa State to five bowl games from 2000-05 and was named the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year in 2004. In 119 years of football at Iowa State, only 17 teams have won seven or more games in a season and McCarney coached five of those.
After leaving Iowa State, McCarney spent one season as the assistant head coach at the University of South Florida. He was an assistant coach at the University of Florida from 2008-10, helping the Gators reach two Southeastern Conference Championship games and three bowl appearances. In 2008, Florida finished with a 13-1 record and won the BCS National Championship behind a defense that ranked fourth in the nation in scoring defense, and ninth nationally in total defense.
McCarney took over as the head coach at North Texas in 2011, holding that position for five seasons. McCarney led North Texas to a 36-14 win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl following the 2013 season, as North Texas won nine games for just the sixth time in school history. North Texas rushed for over 300 yards three times in 2013, the most in a season since 1959.
McCarney coached in 21 bowl games in 36 years as a collegiate coach, five of which are current BCS bowls. He coached 22 players drafted by the NFL, including nine who were selected in the first three rounds.
McCarney will accompany the Iowa captains to the center of the field for Saturday’s pregame coin toss. He will also be with the Hawkeyes in the locker room before and after the game.
Tickets are available for Saturday’s contest at hawkeyesports.com, in person at the UI Athletics Ticket Office in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, or by calling 1-800-IAHAWKS. A $25 youth ticket it available.