SMU Mustangs

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SMU Mustangs
University Southern Methodist University
Conference American Athletic Conference
NCAA Division I
Athletic director Rick Hart
Location Dallas, Texas
Varsity teams 17
Football stadium Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Basketball arena Moody Coliseum
Soccer stadium Westcott Field
Mascot Peruna
Nickname Mustangs
Fight song Peruna
Colors Red and Blue[1]
SMU Athletics wordmark.svg
The American logo in SMU's colors

The SMU Mustangs are the athletic teams that represent Southern Methodist University. The Mustangs were founded in 1911 and joined the Southwest Conference, competing against Baylor, Rice, Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Oklahoma A&M (which later became Oklahoma State).

The football team has participated in various Bowl Games, from the Dixie Classic in 1924 to the Hawaii Bowl in 2012. Football alumni include Heisman winner Doak Walker, All-American Eric Dickerson, and two-time Super Bowl winner Forrest Gregg.

American Athletic Conference[edit]

The Mustangs participate in the NCAA Division I (FBS for football) as a member of the American Athletic Conference. SMU was the only private school in the conference when it began operation as The American in 2013, but it was joined by Tulane and Tulsa a year later. From 1918 to 1996, the Mustangs were a member of the Southwest Conference, until it formally disbanded. The Mustangs subsequently joined the Western Athletic Conference and in 2005, SMU accepted an invitation to the Western Division of Conference USA. They accepted an invitation to join the Big East Conference, which split along football lines in 2013, with SMU and the other FBS schools reorganizing as the American Athletic Conference.

Varsity sports[edit]

Men's sports Women's sports
Basketball Basketball
Football Cross country
Golf Equestrian
Soccer Golf
Swimming & Diving Rowing
Tennis Soccer
Swimming & diving
Track & field
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor.


SMU in action versus UTEP in 2009
National titles

In 1935, SMU had a magnificent season: a 12–1–0 record, scoring 288 points while only giving up 39. The Mustangs completely dominated their opponents. They shut out eight of their 12 regular season opponents, including conference rivals Texas, Rice, Baylor, and Texas A&M. They were one of the most talented teams in school history. The 1935 Mustangs were crowned national champions by Frank Dickinson,[3] a nationally respected economics professor at the University of Illinois. Although Minnesota was proclaimed the 1935 national champion by the AP and UPI polls, SMU usually claims the 1935 national title without qualification, even though they lost the Rose Bowl, because the Dickinson System was the first to gain widespread national public and media acceptance as a selector of national champions.

SMU played in three National Championships in football, with a win in the 1982 Cotton Bowl Classic and an unofficial championship in the 1982 "Polyester Bowl." All told, the Mustangs have played in 15 Bowl Games, including one appearance in the Rose Bowl, four appearances in the Cotton Bowl Classic, and four straight bowl appearances following the Mustangs' 2009 resurgence in football.

Southwest Conference Championships

* denotes shared title

Bowl Appearances and Results
Season Bowl Game Opponent W/L PF PA
1924 Dixie Classic West Virginia Wesleyan L 7 9
1935 Rose Bowl Stanford L 0 7
1947 Cotton Bowl Classic Penn State T 13 13
1948 Cotton Bowl Classic Oregon W 21 13
1963 Sun Bowl Oregon L 14 21
1966 Cotton Bowl Classic Georgia L 9 24
1968 Bluebonnet Bowl Oklahoma W 28 27
1980 Holiday Bowl BYU L 45 46
1982 Cotton Bowl Classic Pittsburgh W 7 3
1983 Sun Bowl Alabama L 7 28
1984 Aloha Bowl Notre Dame W 27 20
2009 Hawaii Bowl Nevada W 45 10
2010 Armed Forces Bowl Army L 14 16
2011 BBVA Compass Bowl Pittsburgh W 28 6
2012 Hawaii Bowl Fresno State W 43 10
2017 Frisco Bowl Louisiana Tech L 10 51
  • SMU's closest rival in athletics is Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, Texas. In football, SMU and TCU compete annually (with the exception of 2006) for the Iron Skillet. In 2005, an unranked SMU beat then 24th ranked TCU for SMU's first win against a ranked team in 19 years (since October 1986). TCU had won the previous seven football games played against SMU.
  • SMU also competes annually with Rice University in football for the Battle for the Mayor's Cup. Unofficially, SMU competes with the University of North Texas in the Safeway Bowl.
  • The Doak Walker Award, an annual collegiate award given to the "most outstanding college running back", is named after SMU Heisman Trophy Winner Doak Walker.
  • On November 11, 2006, redshirt freshman quarterback Justin Willis broke the single season touchdown pass record held by Chuck Hixson (21). Willis threw for three touchdowns in a 37–27 loss to the University of Houston, setting the new single season record at 23. At the end of the season, Willis set the new record at 26. He also broke the SMU single season touchdown record accounting for 29 touchdowns. He was named to the Freshman All-American team at quarterback.
  • Starting in December 2014, Chad Morris was named the head football coach. Previously he was the offensive coordinator for Clemson University and the University of Tulsa. The first day after he was announced as head coach he was recruiting the DFW region for new players.

The "death penalty"[edit]

On February 25, 1987, the Infractions Committee of the NCAA voted unanimously to cancel SMU's entire 1987 football season and all four of SMU's scheduled home games in 1988 in spite of SMU's cooperation and recommended sanctions. On April 11, 1987, SMU formally canceled the 1988 season, in effect, self-imposing a death penalty for a second football season.[4]

The program was terminated for the 1987 season because the university was making approximately $61,000 in booster payments from 1985 to 1986. It later emerged that a "slush fund" had been used to pay players as early as the mid-1970s, and athletic officials had known about it as early as 1981.

SMU was eligible for this penalty because it had already been placed on probation less than five years prior to these violations – specifically, in 1985, for earlier recruiting violations. Since many players were poor, boosters would pay for rent or other bills for the parents of the athletes, and several key boosters and administration officials felt it would be unethical to cut off payments.[citation needed] When the sanctions were handed down, SMU had only three players – all seniors about to graduate – receiving payments.[citation needed]

Not long afterward, SMU announced that its football team would stay shuttered for the 1988 season as well after school officials received indications that they wouldn't have enough experienced players to field a viable team.[5] As it turned out, new coach Forrest Gregg was left with an undersized and underweight lineup. The Mustangs have only now begun to recover from the effects of the scandal; they would not return to a bowl game until 2009. Since returning from the Death Penalty, SMU has had six non-losing seasons, two of them .500 seasons.


In men's basketball, the Mustangs have one Final Four Appearance accompanied by 14 Southwest Conference Championships. In July 2016, SMU hired Tim Jankovich to lead the Mustangs.

SMU's women's basketball team is coached by Coach Travis Mays. The team has advanced to the postseason 12 times since 1993 and is a rising power.


The men's soccer team is a consistent national contender,[citation needed] including a recent[when?] trip to the Elite Eight, and time spent as number one in the nation, finishing the season at number two, earning the school's sixth conference title in the sport.

  • During the 2006 season, the SMU men's soccer program was ranked No. 1 in the nation for four consecutive weeks. The team sat atop the four national polls with a record of 13–0–2 in the Adidas/NSCA poll, poll, Soccer America Magazine poll, and the poll.[citation needed] Concurrently, the SMU women's soccer program cracked the top 25, at No. 22 in the Adidas/NSCA poll and No. 19 in the poll.
  • The SMU men's soccer team finished the 2006 regular season ranked No. 2 in the nation.[citation needed] Additionally, SMU won the C-USA title game, beating Kentucky 2–0 in Tulsa. This C-USA championship win is the sixth conference title for SMU since 1997.
  • The SMU men's soccer team finished the 2010 season with an overall record of 16–2–2. The Mustangs finished the season with a trip to the quarterfinals where they lost to North Carolina in a penalty kick shootout.


The men's golf team won the 1954 NCAA Championship. In 2015, Bryson DeChambeau won the NCAA individual championship.

They have won nine conference championships:

In 2006, Golf Digest ranked the SMU men's golf program No. 16 in the nation. On May 1, 2007, SMU senior Colt Knost was named the Conference USA golfer of the year. He earned golfer of the week awards five times during his senior year, and can be recognized for shooting a record setting 64 for an amateur golfer.[citation needed] The 2015 team was given a postseason ban after multiple recruiting violations and unethical conduct under coach Josh Gregory. The decision also meant DeChambeau was not able to defend his title.

SMU's men's golf team has grown to be a national contender.[citation needed] It was named the number 16 golf team in the nation by Golf Digest in 2006, and produced pro golfer Colt Knost.

In 1979 Kyle O'Brian won the AIAW women's national intercollegiate individual golf championship.

The current head coach is former professional golfer Jason Enloe, who took over the program in 2014.

Discontinued sports[edit]

SMU discontinued several sports in 1980; the university's financial position led to budget cuts across the university, and the university's athletic department had become too big to support.[6]


Southern Methodist University fielded a varsity baseball team from 1919 until it was discontinued after the 1980 season.[why?] The Mustangs won the 1953 SWC baseball title.[7]


NCAA team championships[edit]

SMU has won four NCAA team national championships and eight overall national championships.[8]

Other national team championships[edit]

SMU won the following national championships that are not bestowed by the NCAA:

Athletic venues[edit]

Athletic directors[edit]

Notable athletes[edit]

The SMU football program has also produced other professional football standouts, such as Don Meredith, Kyle Rote, Jerry Ball, Craig James and more recently Cole Beasley, Sterling Moore, Chris Banjo, Kenneth Acker and Taylor Thompson.

Significant events[edit]


  • First year of varsity football – team was nicknamed "The Parsons" because of the large number of theology students on the team.
  • SMU won its first football game, 13–2, over Hendrix College.



  • One of the Mustang Band's oldest traditions began in 1928 when, under the direction of Cy Barcus, the band was the first college band to perform swing music at sporting events.[9]


  • On November 4, 1932, a live horse made its first appearance at a Mustang football game. Peruna I was a four-year-old, 150-pound shetland pony that was donated by T.E. Jones, the owner of Arlington Downs racetrack. The name Peruna originated in the fall of 1915 when SMU student George Sexton substituted the words, "She'll be loaded with Peruna when she comes ..." to the tune of "Coming 'Round the Mountain." In the early part of the century, Peruna was the name of the most famous elixir in Texas and had a reputation as a cure-all. Although the words to the song were changed some years later, Peruna remained as the name of SMU's mascot.


  • In 1933, the Mustang Band earned its first national exposure as it followed the football team to San Francisco for the SMU-St. Mary's game and, while there, played on a coast-to-coast NBC radio show. During the 1930s, the band performed jazz stage shows in several big city theaters scheduled around weekend football games. That same year, the band began producing Pigskin Review, a musical-comedy variety show during the week of Homecoming, a tradition that still continues.[9]
  • Joe Chappel becomes SMU's first individual conference swimming champion with a win in the 400-meter freestyle at the SWC Championship. SMU did not become competing at the Conference Championships as a team until 1946–47 – the Mustangs finished third.


  • SMU earns its first Southwest Conference men's basketball championship after a 14–3 season under head coach J.W. St. Clair.


  • Doak Walker wins the Heisman Trophy in 1948; his number 37 later became the only jersey ever to be retired at SMU.


  • In only its seventh season of existence, the SMU men's golf team wins the 1954 NCAA Championship. It marked SMU's second national title in a team sport (football 1935). The team set a new collegiate record with a team score of 572. SMU golfer Floyd Addington was the tournament medalist. The NCAA champions were Floyd Addington, Stewart Carrell, Tom Towry and Bryan Honts.
  • SMU begins a 44-game home winning streak in men's basketball with a 92–48 victory over Texas A&M.


  • SMU advances to its first men's basketball NCAA Tournament appearance, the Mideast Regional in Manhattan, Kansas. SMU earns its third SWC title in men's basketball.


  • Ronnie Smith becomes first men's swimmer to receive All-American honors. He repeated the feat in 1957 and 1958.
  • Men's swimming scores first points at the NCAA Championships.


  • Center Jim Krebs is named the first men's basketball All-American in school history after leading SMU to a 22–4 record and its third consecutive SWC title.
  • Men's swimming wins first of 23 straight SWC Championships.


  • Men's tennis wins first ever conference title – the first of 10 SWC Championships, winning five titles in a six-year span between 1982 and 1987.


  • SMU's Gene Phillips earns his third consecutive consensus Southwest Conference Player of the Year Award in men's basketball. Phillips would end his career as SMU's all-time leading scorer with 1,931 points despite playing just three seasons.


  • SMU swimmer Jerry Heidenreich earns four medals (two golds, one silver, one bronze) at the 1972 Olympic Games, becoming the first Mustang to win a medal in the Olympics. Diver Janet Ely also became the first SMU female to represent the school in the Olympics and became first female swimmer to win a National Championship by winning the U.S. Diving 10-meter event.


  • Greg Ryan, who would later become the Mustangs women's soccer coach, becomes the first SMU men's soccer All-American. Ryan helped lead the Mustangs to their first national ranking (19th) that season.
  • Janet Ely wins world diving championships.


  • The SMU women's golf team wins the 1979 AIAW national title. The squad was led by two-time All-American Kyle O'Brien, who later returned as the head coach at SMU.
  • SMU men's soccer team makes it first NCAA Tournament appearance.
  • SMU senior men's golfer Payne Stewart shares the 1979 Southwest Conference individual title. Known for his trademark knickers, Stewart would go on to become one of the most successful professional golfers of his era.


  • The SMU men's track and field team won the 1983 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor team championships. Four SMU individuals claimed national titles in 1983 – Michael Carter, Keith Connor, Sven Nylander and Robert Weir. Carter captured an incredible seven of eight possible NCAA shot put titles during his SMU career, which also saw him excel in football. Carter played nine seasons professionally for the San Francisco 49ers. He also earned a silver medal in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Conner's 57–7¾ in the triple jump is the current NCAA outdoor record. Weir 35-pound weight throw of 76–5½ still stands as the NCAA Indoor Championship record.
  • Steve Lundquist wins 100 Breast at NCAA Championships for fourth-straight year – the first men's swimmer to do so at SMU.
  • Men's tennis finishes second at the NCAA Championships – its highest finish. Dennis Ralston named NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Coach of the Year.


  • Seven SMU athletes earn medals in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. SMU men's basketball player Jon Koncak helps the United States team win a gold medal in the 1984 Olympics. Koncak played for the U.S. under legendary coach Bobby Knight. Steve Lundquist earned two gold medals for the United States in swimming (100 breaststroke/400 medley relay) at the 1984 Games. Other SMU medalists at the 1984 Olympics were Michael Carter (silver – track and field), Ricardo Prado (silver – swimming), Amy White (silver – swimming) and Keith Connor (bronze – track and field).



  • SMU is given permission to play a seven-game road schedule, with no home games, but chooses not to participate in 1988 due to the fact that they could not form a competitive team.[10] Forrest Gregg returned to accept what he called "the ultimate challenge" when he was named as the Ponies' head coach on January 14, 1988,[11] after having coached the Green Bay Packers since 1984.
  • SMU's Kevin Robinzine (U.S.) earns a gold medal in the 1,600 meter relay. Robinzine is one of eight SMU representatives in the 1988 Olympic Games.


  • Women's tennis player Jennifer Santrock was the Volvo/ITCA National Player of the Year (she was also named the Southwest Conference's Female Athlete of the Decade). Santrock earned her third and final All-American award in 1989.
  • The Mustangs first season back on the football field, SMU fields a team composed of 74 freshman, 16 of whom were starters.[11] Quarterback Mike Romo who, on February 10, 1988, became the Mustangs' first signee since 1985. Romo engineered one of the most exciting wins in Mustang history when he led SMU from a 17-point deficit in the final five minutes to defeat Connecticut, 31–30, in just the second game of the 1989 season. He completed a four-yard pass to Michael Bowen on the game's final play to give the Ponies their first win since 1986.[12]


  • Lisa Cole becomes SMU's first women's soccer All-American. She leads the Mustangs to their first NCAA Tournament appearance that season.


  • Diving coach Jim Stillson named NCAA Women's Coach of the Year
  • Women's swimming coach Steve Collins named NCAA Women's Swimming Coach of the Year


  • Scott Donie (silver medal – diving) and Lars Frölander (silver – swimming) each earn medals at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Donie and Frolander are just two of 19 SMU representatives in the Olympics that year.
  • The women's diving team wins the 1992 U.S. Diving Outdoor National Championship.
  • The women's golf team wins its second Southwest Conference championship and places 15th at the 1992 NCAA Championships.
  • Women's swimming and diving sets school record by sending 10 athletes to the Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea.
  • Peter Huff of the men's track team is awarded First-Team Academic All-American honors, the first male Mustang to win such an award in any sport during a 24-year period.[13]


  1. ^ "SMU Licensing". June 8, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016. 
  2. ^ – History – College Football National Champions Archived 2002-02-23 at the Library of Congress Web Archives
  3. ^ "Frank G. Dickinson Papers, 1932–67 | University of Illinois Archives". 1992-12-08. Retrieved 2015-08-05. 
  4. ^ Vickrey, Sawley (2012-07-25). "Rodney Erickson: Penn State escaped four-year death penalty". Larry Brown Sports. Retrieved 2015-08-05. 
  5. ^ Frank, Peter. "'88 football season canceled by SMU." New York Times, 1987-04-11.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-07-04. Retrieved 2016-07-04. 
  7. ^ "A Look Back at the Southwest Conference". Texas Almanac. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2012-04-18. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b c SMU Mustang Band History Archived 2009-06-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Archived from the original on May 17, 2008. Retrieved December 6, 2007.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ a b Archived from the original on January 10, 2008. Retrieved December 6, 2007.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Archive – – New Bedford, MA". Retrieved 2015-08-05. 
  13. ^

External links[edit]