DENTON – For the second time in as many weeks, North Texas Athletics has received the largest financial gift in its history. Jim and Linda McNatt and Al and Darlene McNatt have combined to donate $3 million to athletics, Vice President and Director of Athletics Director Wren Baker announced Thursday. This brings the McNatt family's total contributions to athletics to $4.8 million and total giving to UNT to $6.8 million.
The McNatt family gift will be used to help build the Mean Green's new indoor football practice facility as well as other capital improvement projects for the department.
"It's hard to put into words the impact the McNatt family is having on the University of North Texas," Baker said. "At every turn and every project they contribute. Many times without being asked. I've never left a conversation with Jim, Linda, Al or Darlene where they don't ask what they can do to help the University. We are grateful for their support, friendship and leadership as we continue Building Champions and Preparing Leaders at UNT."
In addition to their giving to athletics, the McNatt family has generously donated money to numerous UNT departments as well as several charitable organizations in and around Denton County. The UNT Institute for Logistics Research is named after Jim, and together with Linda, they have funded the McNatt College of Business Graduate Fellowship, the Linda McNatt Master's in International Sustainable Tourism Graduate Scholarship, the Linda McNatt MIST Student Research Award and the Linda McNatt MIST Marketing Fund.
Jim and Al have been worked together in several business ventures around Denton since the early 1960s. They were involved in building a car dealership group that grew to 10 stores, and in 1983 started McNatt Properties, which has since grown to include properties in raw land, ranch land, apartments, houses, warehouses, shopping centers and office buildings.
Jim was honored with the Wings of Eagles Presidential Award last spring, which is the most prestigious award presented by the President to someone who has made a transformative impact on the university. The honor celebrates creativity, spirit and innovation at UNT and is awarded to an alumnus or friend who embodies what UNT represents: engagement, generosity and affinity.
"Al and Darlene, along with Linda and I, are extremely happy to help continue in building on the positive momentum of Mean Green football and the entire North Texas athletics department," Jim said. "We consider this an investment in a school that has given so much to all of us. Athletics is an important part of the overall student experience, and its success can create a sense of pride for alumni around the entire country. We hope this gift will aid in that success for generations to come."
Construction on the indoor football practice facility is beginning next week, with completion scheduled for the summer of 2019. The facility is being constructed adjacent to the Mean Green Athletics Center, taking the place of one of the current grass practice fields. An official groundbreaking ceremony for the new facility will take place on Saturday, September 29, at 3 p.m., prior to the Joe Greene statue unveiling at 4 p.m. and the Mean Green football game against Louisiana Tech at 6:30.