Sara Story, NBC 5 Denton County Reporter
The captain of the Mean Green football team is using his military past to motivate his teammates.
A North Texas football player is using his military past to motivate his teammates.
Former U.S. Army Spc. Brandon McCoy, captain of the Mean Green football team, says his combat experience is helping him on the playing field.
"Give all that you can if you have the opportunity," he said. "If you have breath in your body, just go as hard as you can."
His determination comes from a place most college athletes have never been. The defensive end enlisted in the military after high school and served in the Army for four and a half years.
McCoy said he learned to focus overseas.
"I focused that tomorrow can be your last -- next minute can be your last, especially when people around you are getting hurt, people are dying around you, bombs are coming into the base," he said.
McCoy spent his free time training for football, and in 2010, walked on to the UNT football team.
Coach Dan McCarney said he noticed a leader from the start.
"He laid his life on the line, so what a great example, what a shining example to the guys on the football team," he said. "Leadership is taking guys and taking young men from where they are now to where they ought to be."
McCoy said his experience in Iraq has shaped him into the teammate he is today.
"We had such a brotherhood over there," he said. "As tankers, it was like, 'We are together'. I try to bring that here. It's the Mean Green brotherhood. How much do you put in for the man next to you?"