Mean Joe Greene

I played linebacker at Dunbar High School in Temple. It was an all-black school, but that only bothered me in the sense that we didn’t have a chance to play against the white schools. After my senior year, I was interested in a couple of colleges: A&I, Prairie View, Houston. My invitation to visit Houston was for my prom night though, so I had to refuse that. I also started looking in the library at catalogs for North Texas State. When I read about its accounting department and saw [black running back] Abner Haynes’s picture in the book, I started feeling like that was the place I wanted to go. I received an invitation to North Texas from Coach Odus Mitchell, and once they saw me, they decided to give me a scholarship. During one of my first varsity games, we played the University of Texas at El Paso, which at that time was Texas Western. They had beaten our team 61—15 the year before, but we held them to minus 44 yards rushing and beat them 12—9. And that’s when they started calling us the Mean Green Defense.

Joe Greene was raised in Temple and attended North Texas State University in Denton from 1965 to 1969. An NFL Hall of Famer, he played thirteen seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers and won four Super Bowl rings. He is now the defensive line coach for the Arizona Cardinals.

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