Legends of the Mean Green: Players

Ray Renfro #33

An All-American running back for North Texas in 1951 who went on to play 12 years in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. Renfro was the Browns’ most feared receiver in the mid-to-late 1950s, and he played in three Pro Bowls. Later, Renfro served as an assistant coach with the Dallas Cowboys and participated in Super Bowls V and VI. He was inducted into the UNT Hall of Fame in 1988, and his No. 33 jersey was retired posthumously in 2000. Renfro died in 1997 at the age of 67.

Abner Hayes #28

A two-time all-Missouri Valley Conference running back for the Eagles, Haynes ranked seventh in the nation in rushing and fifth in scoring as a senior in 1959. He led North Texas to an appearance in the 1959 Sun Bowl post-season game and was named All-American by Time Magazine that same year. He signed with the Dallas Texans of the AFL and was named AFL Player of the Year in 1960. Hayes rushed for over 4,500 yards during his pro career. He had his number retired by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1988 and was inducted into the UNT Hall of fame in 1986.

Richard Gill #33

An all-conference linebacker for North Texas in 1968 and 1969, Gill was a popular and outspoken team leader. Playing alongside Hall of Fame teammate Joe Greene, Gill was part of the original “Mean Green” defense as it was nicknamed in the late 1960’s. Scheduled to return for his senior season in 1970, Gill met an untimely death when a blood clot reached his lungs following a routine surgery for a knee injury he suffered on the practice field. He was survived by his wife and son and a daughter, who was born after his death. In 1971, Gill was the first North Texas player to have his number retired.

Joe Greene #75

A three-time all-Missouri Valley Conference defensive tackle who anchored a unit nicknamed the “Mean Green,” which led to his own nickname “Mean” Joe Greene. After being a consensus All-American pick in 1968, he went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was a 10-time Pro Bowl selection and the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1969. He recorded 66 sacks and anchored the famed “Steel Curtain” defense that led the Steelers to four Super Bowl titles. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of fame in 1987 and the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 1983. North Texas retired his no. 75 jersey and inducted him into the UNT Hall of Fame in 1981.

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