UNT President Neal Smatresk speaks to guests during the State of the University address at Murchison Performing Arts Center. Smatresk celebrated his birthday on Tuesday.

There are a host of reasons athletic departments are successful.

Having great athletes matters more than anything. Coaching is vitally important as is having effective athletic administrators.

What is often overlooked is the importance of having the support of the university administration, including the president.

North Texas athletics has a president in its corner Neal Smatresk. And it just so happens to be his birthday. 

If you've been to a UNT game in recent years, you've likely seen Smatresk courtside at the Super Pit or in the luxury boxes at Apogee Stadium.

Showing up at games is just part of how Smatresk has backed the Mean Green. He's also provided UNT's athletic department the funding it needs.

UNT athletic director Wren Baker has mentioned going to the university for extra support in the past. Smatresk has been there for UNT's athletics program when it needed it.

Smatresk was also recently named to C-USA's executive committee. He’ll help set the course for the league that is UNT’s home in the years to come.

There are a host of ways Smatresk has helped make UNT a better place. What he's done for the school's athletics department is just one.

It's also an important one to recognize on Smatresk's birthday.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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