Mean Green linebacker plays with a purpose, thanks COE’s Katherine Thomas for support

OrrZach Orr (Photo by Rick Yeatts)

Zach Orr says UNT football provides him with the opportunity to be his best on and off the field

For Mean Green standout Zach Orr, his college experience at UNT has been about more than just playing football.

"It's about being somewhere I can stay for four years and gain a lifetime of memories I can share with others," Orr says.

Now a junior, Orr says he made the right decision when he chose UNT as the place to pursue a degree in kinesiology and play football. He says supportive faculty and lasting friendships at UNT have helped to make him both a better athlete and student overall.

"I've had great experiences so far," Orr says. "At UNT, everybody is family and you get a great education."

Network of support

With the support of his teammates, coaches and faculty, Orr says he is confident about achieving his academic and career goals. One of his mentors is Katherine Thomas, associate professor of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation.

"She's a great teacher," Orr says. "She gives you class lessons but also lessons about life."

Katherine Thomas Thomas says Orr understands the value of hard work and puts his best effort into everything he does. And he is willing to help other students simply because it's the right thing to do, she says.

"Zach is talented and smart, but he also understands the practice and effort necessary to take each performance to the next level," Thomas says. "He is one of those students who makes teaching a pleasure, and he has the potential to be successful at many things."

In addition to faculty support, Orr says students also have access to teacher assistants in study sessions and state-of-the-art laboratories, as well as counselors and administrators who are always willing to help.

"There are a lot of resources at UNT if you want to do well and be your best," he says. "There's no reason you shouldn't succeed with all the help around campus."

Orr is looking forward to becoming part of a support network so vital to students' success. He is in the teacher certification program at UNT and plans to pursue a career as a high school teacher and football coach or athletic director.

"I know the role models in my life are coaches," he says, "and I want to be that for young kids when I get older."

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