UNT memorial day blog

Former North Texas defensive tackle Brandon McCoy served in the United States Army from 2004 through 2008 and deployed to Iraq. McCoy is part of a long line of UNT players who served in the military.

Memorial Day is upon us. People across the country are stopping to recognize those who served the United States in the armed forces.

The day has special significance at North Texas, which has had several athletes who have served over the years.

Brandon McCoy, Rich Young and Ilias Simpson all represented UNT well on the field. Each also served their country.

McCoy spent 4 1/2 years in the Army after a troubled childhood and later landed at UNT. The defensive end played for the Mean Green from 2010-13 and helped UNT knock off UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl at the end of the 2013 season. 

McCoy was named the Armed Forced Merit Award winner as a senior by the Football Writers Association of America. He spent 13 months driving Humvees on supply runs and in combat missions in Iraq.

McCoy was better known as "Sarge" by his teammates and coaches.

Young played for the UNT basketball team and helped lead the Mean Green to the 2007 NCAA tournament.  The 6-5 forward was known for his all-around talent. He could defend, score and did all the little things it took to win.

Young served in the Marines before he played for UNT and spent time in Kosovo, Kenya and Iraq.

Ilias Simpson served in the Air Force National Guard while playing for the UNT football team in 2003 and 2004. The Mean Green won the Sun Belt Conference title in each of those seasons.

Simpson spent time in the New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina tore through the city in 2005. He joined the Air Force shortly after graduating from UNT.

There are athletes who have served in the military at schools across the country. UNT has a particularly rich history, one that is worth remembering on Memorial Day.

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

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