Having established himself as one of the most prominent coaches in the nation, John Hedlund has molded the Mean Green soccer program into one of the nation’s elite that has never had a losing season. Since the program’s birth in 1995, Hedlund has led North Texas to a 343-127-34 record (71.4 percentage), 15 conference championships, six NCAA Tournament appearances and a top 25 national ranking.
What has been a winning tradition program for decades, Hedlund has built an even greater dynasty since moving to Conference USA in 2013. The Mean Green have won seven C-USA championships since 2014 and reached the NCAA Tournament three times since 2015 and won more games during this time span than any other C-USA opponent.
North Texas in 2018 won both the C-USA Regular Season and Tournament championship, earned a No. 24 national ranking and featured NCAA All-American Dominique James who also was named the C-USA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. They had eight all conference honorees, which was more than any other school in the league.
Entering the 2018 season, Hedlund was only one of eight active coaches who has won 300 or more matches all at the same school. Of those eight coaches, he ranked fifth in wins and fifth in winning percentage.
Anson Dorrance (North Carolina, 40 years) and G Guerrieri (Texas A&M, 26 years) are the only other active coaches to have never had a losing season at one school for more than 20 years in a row.
In 2017, Hedlund led North Texas to its 13th women’s soccer conference championship by claiming the
Conference USA Tournament title..
Last year North Texas had one of the most potent offenses, scoring the eighth-most goals in the country. They
also did it on the defensive end, holding opponents to a C-USA best .8 goals per match. Defender Dominque
James was named first-team all-conference and the Mean Green had two other players earn all-conference nods
as well. In the tournament, Taylor Torres was named the Offensive MVP, James was named the Defensive MVP
and Natalie McDowell and Natalie Newell were named to the all-tournament team as they claimed the conference championship and reached the NCAA Tournament
In total, the Mean Green have had 87 all-conference selections and 57 all-tournament selections.
Since joining C-USA in 2013, UNT has dominated. Entering the 2018 season, they are 48-10-5 in all conference
matches. No other school in C-USA comes close to the amount of wins or the .801 winning percentage since
UNT moved to C-USA.
Entering the 2018 season, the Mean Green were and still are riding a NCAA-best home conference unbeaten streak. They
haven’t been beaten at home by a conference opponent since Oct. 31, 2008.. They posted a 4-0-1 record
in home conference matches in 2017.
In 13 years in the Sun Belt Conference the Mean Green earned the respect of the league’s coaches. UNT
won eight conference championships and garnered 47 all-conference selections, including 35 first-team all-conference
Six women’s soccer players have been inducted to the North Texas Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2005 Krista Davey
was the first soccer player to be inducted, followed by Christy Johnson in 2007 and Marilyn Marin in 2008.
Melinda Pina was voted into the Hall of Fame in 2011, Heather Hutyra joined them in 2013 and Kendall Juett
entered in 2017.
Under Hedlund, the Mean Green have also succeeded in the classroom, in 2017 UNT had multiple women with a 3.75 or higher and eight others had G.P.A.s of 3.0 or higher.
The team was recognized for its off-field accomplishments by the National Soccer Coaches Association of
America as one of the recipients for the 2010 and 2014 NSCAA Team Academic Award. The NSCAA annually
hands out the academic honor to Division I schools whose team grade point average is a 3.0 or higher. The
Mean Green posted a team grade-point average of 3.22 for the 2013-14 school year. Additionally, the women’s
soccer team’s APR (Academic Progress Report) has been ranked in the top 10% nationally three out of the last
Hedlund’s association with North Texas began in 1990 as an assistant men’s soccer coach. He served briefly as
the head coach of the men’s program in 1994 before the university discontinued the sport.
In 1995, Hedlund concluded a 12-year professional playing career, in which he played defender for the United
States Men’s Olympic qualifying team (1983-84), the New York Express (1984-85), the Dallas Sidekicks (1986-
87 and 1992-95) and the Dallas Rockets (1988-91).
In four seasons with the Sidekicks, he scored 15 goals in 78 games over four seasons, and ranks 19th in team
history in shots blocked and 33rd in games played. He was a member of the 1986-87 and 1993 Sidekicks
championship teams, blocking a total of 20 shots during his playoff career, the 12th-most in Sidekicks history.
He scored five goals in the 1994 CISL playoffs for the Sidekicks, and ranks 20th in club history in playoff goals.
In the outdoor game, Hedlund played with the Richardson Rockets, who won the 1991 SISL Championship and reached the 1991 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final. Hedlund helped the Rockets reach new heights in American soccer by reaching the fourth round of the 1992 CONCACAF Champions Cup. The Dallas Rockets were one of only three United States teams to reach the fourth round of the Champions Cup in the pre-Major League Soccer era (1969-1994), but fell in the fourth round to Club America in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. He played with the United States Olympic team under Manfred Schellscheidt in the lead up to the 1984 Summer Olympics, but missed the Olympic Tournament due to injury. With the United States,
Hedlund played tournaments in South Korea, Sweden, Finland and Malaysia.
A four-year letterwinner at Midwestern State University, Hedlund was twice voted to the NAIA All-America team in college. He scored 26 goals and added 12 assists playing several different positions on the pitch. He was named the Most Valuable Player in the 1983 NAIA National Tournament, as he led the Mustangs to the championship game. He is a member of Midwestern State’s Athletic Hall of Honor.The Plano native holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Midwestern State and resides in Argyle with his wife, Julie. They have two sons: Chad, who played football at Wake Forest and SMU and Cole, who is currently on the Mean Green football team and set the national high school football record for field goals made for Argyle High School in 2011.