football Edit

Means Discusses His Return, Job Duties, 40-Year Decision & More

CHAPEL HILL – North Carolina announced Tuesday morning that former Tar Heel and NFL star Natrone Means was back at UNC serving as an offensive analyst on Mack Brown’s staff, and later in the afternoon, Means met with the media via zoom to discuss his new job.

During his Carolina career, Means, who played at UNC from 1990-92, ran for 3,074 yards and 34 touchdowns. He also had 61 receptions for 500 yards. Means played parts of eight seasons in the NFL, including in Super Bowl XXIX with the San Diego Chargers and an AFC title game in 1996 when with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He ran for 1,350 yards and scored 12 touchdowns for the Chargers in 1994, and his career numbers are 5,215 rushing yards with 45 touchdowns and 103 receptions for 631 yards and two scores. Means is a member of the Chargers’ Hall of Fame.

Means has spent the last 17 years in coaching, with his most recent stop as the offensive coordinator, assistant head coach and running backs coach at Fayetteville State.

Above is Means’ full press conference and below are some notes and pulled quotes from what he had to say:

*Means was one of the more important players to play for Brown during his first stint as head coach at Carolina, so what does it mean to him to not only be back at UNC but also working with Brown?

“I’m very excited, ecstatic, all those big words you can possibly think of to describe joy is what I’m feeling right now,” Means said. “To get a chance to be back on the Hill and involved in this program that means so much to me, working under Coach Brown, and everything that he’s done, not only for the players that have come through the program such as myself, but the current guys, it’s an honor and a privilege to be back here to share my experiences with these current players to help them to achieve all of the success that they rightfully deserve.”

*Means has climbed the ranks in the industry, but this is his first opportunity to work with an FBS program, and it happens to be a Power 5 program and one that is on the rise nationally. What does it mean for him professionally to be in this position?

“It signals continued growth on my part,” Means said. “Obviously, having been involved in this profession for a while at all different levels, continuing to fight in the grind and work my way up. Division One has always been a goal for me, having a chance to coach at Chapel Hill has always been a dream.

“So, while I will not be involved in on-field activities coaching per se, just to have an opportunity to come back and be involved in a program that means so much to me and my family, and to continue to grow in my coaching career. Words can’t express how I feel about this opportunity.”

*Now that Means is on board but won’t be hands-on with the players on the field, what exactly will be his daily routine and responsibilities?

“I would expect my day-to-day routine to be similar to all of our full-time coaches on staff. Obviously, once I get to the on-field football responsibilities, due to NCAA regulations and restrictions, I would not be able to coach the guys…,” Means explained. “Away from the field, my responsibilities are those of any other college coaches.”

*So, how did Means joining forces with Brown and UNC come to fruition?

“I’ve always stayed in contact with Coach Brown understanding this is a place where I got my start and Coach Brown was very instrumental to that,” Means said. “Understanding that no matter what business or profession you find yourself in, relationships are going to be essential to success. What I did was make the most of my relationships, not only with Coach Brown but with a lot of folks involved in this institution making it clear, not only by my works but by my actions, that I’m committed to being the best coach that I possibly can.

“Having a chance to sit down and talk and share what it is that I’ve learned over this past 17-year journey on the sideline coaching football was something that for me was something I wanted to make clear to everyone that I had conversations with. Coaching is my second career. This is something that was not just a hobby for me.

“There was a lot of hard work, a lot of time away from my family, but at the end of the day, I feel like it’s all worth it to achieve those goals and those dreams that we set for ourselves. So, for me, this thing has been in the works for, as far as I’m concerned, since I left Chapel Hill the first time back in 1992. Like Coach Brown says all the time, it was not a four-year decision, it was a 40-year decision.”

*Means’ daughter will be a freshman on scholarship for the UNC women’s soccer team next fall. So, what will it be like working in the same athletic department, and with the soccer stadium adjoined to the indoor football practice facility?

“Believe it or not, as we walked over to the practice field this morning, and I was sitting outside and I was talking with (former UNC & NFL player and current Director of High School Relations) Kevin Donalley in the new arena, I saw the soccer field there,” Means said.

“Obviously, we’ve been here before to see some games and to see those girls practice and have my daughter on campus for camps and things of that nature, I told him that ‘If this was going to be the view, it was going to make my job real easy because I could stand right in the middle I could watch my daughter playing soccer on the left and sit over here and pay attention to football on the right.

“Just having the opportunity to be able to be able to continue to be close to her and follow her career and see her continue to grow, not only as a soccer player but an outstanding young woman, is just another thing that makes this so special.”