This article's introduction may be too long for the overall article length. (December 2014)
|University||Southern Methodist University|
|Conference||American Athletic Conference|
|Athletic director||Rick Hart|
|Football stadium||Gerald J. Ford Stadium|
|Basketball arena||Moody Coliseum|
|Soccer stadium||Westcott Field|
The SMU Mustangs are the athletic teams representing Southern Methodist University. The SMU Mustangs were founded in 1911 and became a prominent athletic program who joined the Southwest Conference, competing against Baylor, Rice, Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Oklahoma A&M (which later became Oklahoma State). They have participated in various Bowl Games, from the Dixie Classic in 1924 to the Hawaii Bowl in 2012. Some of their top football players were even inducted into the Football Hall of Fame but some of their most notable football players were Heisman winner Doak Walker, All-American Eric Dickerson, and two-time Super Bowl winner Forrest Gregg. The SMU Mustangs also have a prominent baseball, basketball, soccer and golf team that continually have winning records and are becoming more and more well-known.
- 1 History
- 2 Sports
- 3 National team championships
- 4 Athletic directors
- 5 Athletic venues
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Entrance into the American Athletic Conference
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.
- SMU was founded
- In June, Ray Morrison became the school's football, baseball, basketball and track coach, as well as a math instructor. Morrison came to be known as "the father of the forward pass" because of his use of the pass on first and second downs instead of as a last resort.
- 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.
- The first football teams at SMU were unofficially known as the "Parsons" because of the large number of theology students on the team, but after SMU won a state championship in women's basketball, it was determined that the university's teams needed an official mascot. Bulls, Rams, Comanches and Rattlers were among the names submitted by members of the student body. The list was narrowed to three finalists, and at a pep assembly on October 17, 1917, the name "Mustangs" was selected over Bisons and Greyhounds. The Mustang is representative of the fleet-footed animal which is native to Texas.
- The Mustang Band was first organized by Harold Hart Todd.
- SMU joined the Southwest Conference, joining Baylor, Rice, Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Oklahoma A&M (which later became Oklahoma State)
- SMU begins competing in track and field under the direction of J. Burton Rix. The Mustangs placed fourth in its very first SWC Meet
- Ray Morrison returned as coach in 1922 and guided SMU to the first of 10 consecutive winning seasons. Sportswriters billed the Mustangs as the "Aerial Circus," in reference to Morrison's passing offense. At a time when most teams threw the ball five or six times per game, SMU passed between 30 and 40 times per contest. The Mustangs compiled a 6–3–1 record in 1922.
- End Gene Bedford and back Logan Stollenwerck were named first-team All-Southwest Conference, becoming the first Mustang players to achieve that honor. Bedford became the first player from SMU to play professionally when he played for the Rochester Jeffersons in 1925.
- Football enjoyed a perfect 9–0 mark and the school's first conference title.
- The Mustangs made their first bowl appearance in 1924, playing against West Virginia Wesleyan in the Dixie Classic on New Year's Day. The game, played at Fair Park Stadium in Dallas, was the predecessor to the Cotton Bowl Classic. West Virginia Wesleyan spoiled SMU's 18-game unbeaten streak with a 9–7 victory.
- Ownby Stadium built. It was named after SMU alumnus and strong supporter of athletics Jordan C. Ownby. SMU defeated North Texas State Teachers College, 42–0, on September 24, 1926, in the first game at Ownby. Quarterback Gerald Mann, known as "The Little Red Arrow" because of his strong, accurate passing, was a member of the first Mustang team to play in Ownby Stadium and, as part of his scholarship chores, helped plant the grass on the stadium playing field.
- First Homecoming football game (SMU 14, TCU 13)
- Guard Choc Sanders became SMU's first All-American in 1928. Voted All-American by the New York Sun, New York Journal and Boston Record, Sanders was the Southwest Conference's first All-America selection. Tackle Marion Hammon became the Mustangs' second All-American one year later.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 won its first national championship in 1935 after posting a 12-win season under the guidance of first-year head coach Matty Bell. Known as a player's coach, Bell brought discipline to his team, and he spent time listening and talking to his players.
- Fullback Harry Shuford and tackle Truman "Big Dog" Spain were two prominent players on the national championship team. A tri-captain, Shuford was the Mustangs' best running back during the 1935 season, but injury forced him to miss the season's most critical contest. The Mustangs, ranked number one in the country, played second-ranked TCU and its star quarterback Sammy Baugh for the unofficial national championship and the right to play in the Rose Bowl against Stanford on January 1, 1936.
- The 1935 SMU-TCU football game is generally considered the greatest game in SMU history. Bobby Wilson scored two touchdowns to give SMU a 14–0 lead before Baugh rallied the Horned Frogs to a 14–14 tie. Early in the fourth quarter, Bob Finley connected on a long pass to Wilson after the Mustangs faced a fourth down at the TCU 39. Wilson caught the ball at the five and rolled into the endzone as the Mustangs held on to win, 20–14, and earned a trip to the Rose Bowl.
- SMU earns its first Southwest Conference men's basketball championship after a 14–3 season under head coach J.W. St. Clair.
- While the loss 7–0 loss to Stanford in the Rose Bowl January 1, constituted the only blemish on SMU's 12–1 season, the school was able to pay off its 10-year debt on Ownby Stadium with the check the university received from competing in the prestigious bowl game.
- Harry Shuford, a standout fullback on the 1935 team, was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1936 and, despite the team's efforts to sign him to a contract, opted to attend law school at SMU. Shuford overcame the prevailing thought that a football player could not succeed in law school and finished first in his class in 1939.
- SMU earns its second Southwest Conference men's basketball championship after a 13–8 season under head coach J.W. St. Clair.
- Lester Jordan was named sports information director at SMU. Jordan would go on to become one of the pioneers of the profession. He helped orchestrate the founding of the Academic All-American program, which still exists today.
- World War II resulted in the loss of head coach Matty Bell for three years (1942–45) when he left the Hilltop to join the Navy reserves. Bell returned to SMU in 1945 and took on an additional role as the university's athletic director, the school's first AD.
- Freshman Doak Walker was a high school teammate of Bobby Layne at Highland Park High School in Dallas. The two were matched against each other in Walker's first collegiate game in 1945 when Layne was the quarterback at the University of Texas. Although Texas won the game, 12–7, Walker scored the Mustangs' only touchdown and kicked the extra point. Walker and Layne were reunited as teammates when both played for the NFL's Detroit Lions in the early 1950s.
- After six consecutive losing seasons, 1947 brought new hope and the emergence of a legend in Doak Walker. The only three-time All-America in SMU history, Walker led the Mustangs to consecutive Southwest Conference championships in 1947 and 1948. Over the course of his career at SMU, Walker rushed for 1,954 yards, passed for 1,638 yards, scored 288 points, punted for a 39.4 average and kicked field goals and extra points. He is also the Mustangs' all-time leader in punt return yards with 750. Walker earned the 1947 Maxwell Award honoring the nation's best football player.
- E.O. (Doc) Hayes is named men's basketball coach. He would win 299 games at SMU, the most by any Mustang coach in any sport at the school. Hayes eventually led the Mustangs to eight of their league championships.
- Doak Walker's exploits earned him the Heisman Trophy in 1948 and led to his number 37 being the only jersey ever to be retired at SMU.
- After playing most of their home games since 1926 at Ownby Stadium on the SMU campus, the Mustangs moved to the Cotton Bowl in 1948, where they would remain for 31 years. The last game at Ownby was played on October 2, 1948, when SMU defeated Texas Tech, 41–6. Because of Walker's immense popularity, the Cotton Bowl came to be known as "The House that Doak Built."
- The Mustangs were matched against Penn State in the 1948 Cotton Bowl Classic, tying the Nittany Lions, 13–13. Doak Walker threw a 53-yard touchdown pass and scored on a two-yard run, but Penn State's Elwood Petchel matched Walker by tossing scoring passes of 38 and six yards.
- The 1949 Cotton Bowl Classic paired SMU with Oregon and its star quarterback, Norm Van Brocklin. The Mustangs won 21–13.
- Doak Walker becomes the only three-time football All-American in SMU history.
- After playing alongside Doak Walker the previous two seasons, Kyle Rote was given his chance to be the featured back in 1950. Rote, who led the Southwest Conference with 777 yards rushing in 1949, was named an All-American following the 1950 season.
- Quarterback Fred Benners led the Mustangs to perhaps their greatest win of the decade when he completed 22 of 42 passes for 336 yards to beat Notre Dame, 27–20, in Notre Dame, Indiana on October 13, 1951. Benners connected on TD passes of 57, 37, 31 and four yards to four different receivers as the Mustangs beat the Fighting Irish in what was one of the highlights in a 3–6–1 season.
- A two-time All-Southwest Conference selection, Forrest Gregg was a two-way player at both offensive and defensive tackle from 1952–55. At first, he was not offered a full scholarship by SMU upon graduation from Sulphur Springs High School, and was leaning toward attending Texas A&M. However, chief recruiter Herman "Sleepy" Morgan, recognizing Gregg's infinite potential, ultimately lured him to the Hilltop with an offer of a full scholarship. Gregg would eventually become an NFL Hall of Famer.
- Football player David Powell became SMU's first Academic All-American winner.
- 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.
- Despite the fact that Raymond Berry caught just 11 passes for 144 yards during his junior season and had never started a game in his career, his teammates elected him as a co-captain in 1954 when he was an All-Southwest Conference performer and Academic All-America. He was a 20th-round draft choice of the Baltimore Colts in 1955 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973.
- SMU begins an incredible 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.
- Led by center Jim Krebs, SMU advances to the 1956 Final Four in Evanston, IL. SMU, the 1956 Southwest Conference champions for the second consecutive season, would finish 26–4 overall in 1955–56.
- Moody Coliseum is built. SMU defeats McMurry, 113–36, to open the building on December 3, 1956. When the building was opened in 1956, it was simply known as the SMU Coliseum. In 1965, the arena was renamed Moody Coliseum in honor of William L. Moody, Jr.
- 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.
- Don Stewart became SMU's first NCAA track champion when he tied for first place in the high jump. SMU finished 17th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships that year. He won the high jump outright in 1958. He received the first of three straight All-American honors in the high jump – the program's first All-American.
- Men's swimming wins first of 23 straight SWC Championships.
- Don Meredith was a two-time All American in 1958 and 1959 and his .610 career completion percentage is the greatest of any passer in Mustang history. One of his greatest attributes was his running ability, which increased the pressure on opposing defenses.
- Dr. Irving Dreibrodt became director in 1958 and brought many innovations to the Mustang Band. In the early 1960s, the band's wardrobe expanded to 20 different uniforms, earning it the nickname of "The Best Dressed Band in the Land."
- SMU wins its fourth consecutive SWC men's basketball championship after a 15–10.
- Texas A&M ends SMU's 44-game home men's basketball winning streak with a 43–42 win at Moody Coliseum.
- Track & Field places second to earn its highest finish at the SWC Outdoor meet – a feat it duplicated in 1959.
- 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 introduced Hayden Fry as the Mustangs' eighth head football coach.
- The 1963 season provided the SMU football program with one of its most memorable games when the Mustangs hosted fourth-ranked Navy and its quarterback, Roger Staubach, on October 11, 1963, at the Cotton Bowl. On its way to a 4–7 season, SMU was given little chance to beat the Midshipmen. Little-known sophomore John Roderick rushed for 146 yards on 11 carries and scored on touchdown runs of 45 and two yards for the Mustangs. The SMU defense, led by Bob Oyler, Martin Cude, Bill Harlan, Harold Magers and Doug January, sent Staubach to the bench twice with a dislocated left shoulder. Trailing 28–26 with 2:52 remaining in the game, SMU had one last chance to pull off the upset. Quarterback Danny Thomas threw to Billy Gannon, who ran to the Navy 46. On the next play, Roderick took a pitchout 23 yards to the 23. After a pass interference penalty against Navy put the ball on the one-yard line, Gannon plowed over right tackle for the winning touchdown with 2:05 left. The SMU defense held off Staubach's effort to rally his team for one last score, as the Mustangs pulled off the 32–28 upset.
- Despite a 4–6 regular season record, SMU parlayed the victory over Navy earlier that season into a Sun Bowl berth against Oregon. Oregon defeated SMU, 21–14.
- Hayden Fry lifted SMU back to national prominence in 1966, when SMU was ranked ninth in the nation and won its first conference championship in 18 years.
- During the 1966 season, sophomore wide receiver Jerry Levias led the Mustangs in scoring with 54 points. Levias became the first African-American player in the Southwest Conference to receive an athletic scholarship after choosing SMU largely because of its accounting program. As a senior in 1968, Levias caught 80 passes for a school-record 1131 yards when he was selected both an All-American and Academic All-American.
- SMU lost to Georgia on December 31 in the Cotton Bowl Classic.
- John LaGrone, who earned conference honors from 1964–66, was the first Mustang player to be selected as both an All-American and Academic All-American when he was honored following the 1966 season.
- Ken Martin becomes the first men's swimming NCAA Champion by winning the 100 breaststroke (58.54) and 200 breast (2:07.99) at the 1967 NCAA Championships.
- Ron Mills and Ken Merten both represent the United States at the Summer Olympic Games. They are the first two SMU student-athletes to represent the school in the Olympics. Mills earned a bronze medal for the United States.
- Combined with quarterback Chuck Hixson, Levias helped lead the Mustangs to a 28–27 win over Oklahoma in the 1968 Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl, giving SMU its first bowl victory since the 1949 Cotton Bowl Classic. SMU and Oklahoma combined to score 35 points in the fourth quarter. SMU stopped Oklahoma short of a potential game-winning two-point conversion with 1:16 left to play.
Gary Hammond earned all SWC titles in 1969, 1970 and 1971, the only player to ever achieve this at three different positions.
- 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.
- Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A former SMU football player, Hunt …… The AFC Championship Trophy is named after Lamar Hunt.
- George Hardie earns first of four-straight All-American honors – the first for men's tennis.
- Baltimore Colts great Raymond Berry becomes the second SMU player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- Tim Vann becomes the first SMU men's tennis All-American. Vann would repeat the honor in 1974.
- SMU competes at the SWC Indoor Track and Field Championships for the first time, placing fifth.
- The SMU men's soccer team competes for the first time under head coach Jimmy Benedek. SMU defeated TCU, 8–1, in its first game. The Mustangs would post a 14–4–2 record in their first season.
- Ron Meyer was hired as SMU's 10th head coach in January 1976 and was given the responsibility of establishing a championship reign on the Hilltop.
- SMU men's basketball player Ira Terrell, a Dallas native, is named SWC Player of the Year by The Dallas Times-Herald after he averages 22.6 points and 13.4 rebounds per game.
- Cindy Benzon becomes SMU's first women's tennis All-American.
- The SMU women's basketball program competed in its first season. Coach Suzanne Troutman led the team to a 10–9 record. The Mustangs advanced to the TAIAW Playoffs that season.
- Karen Resinger becomes women's swimming first All-American.
- Forrest Gregg, a player who Vince Lombardi once called "the greatest player I ever coached," is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Gregg would later return to his alma mater as head coach and athletic director.
- 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.
• Home attendance jumped from 26,000 to 52,000 in 1978 and "Mustang Mania" ushered a new era in SMU football the following season, when the Mustangs began playing all of their home games at Texas Stadium. Accompanying the move to a new stadium in 1979 was a freshman class which would lift SMU football to new heights. Freshmen Eric Dickerson and Craig James combined to rush for 1,239 yards in 1979, and the "Pony Express" was born. • 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. • Men's tennis wins first of two national team indoor championships, the second coming in 1983.
1980 • The Mustangs parlayed their talent into an 8–4 record and the school's first national ranking (20th) since 1968. • The 1980 Holiday Bowl featured two teams with distinctly different offensive philosophies. SMU relied on the running of Eric Dickerson and Craig James, while BYU boasted an explosive aerial attack led by QB Jim McMahon. Both teams combined for more than 900 yards in total offense in a game which came down to the final play. After trailing 45–25, BYU mounted one of the most amazing comebacks in college football history. As time expired, McMahon found Clay Brown in the end zone for a 41-yard TD pass, sending the Mustangs home with a heartbreaking 46–45 defeat. • Ted McLaughlin was named track and field coach at SMU. McLaughlin would lead the Mustangs to three national team championships (1983 indoor and outdoor, 1986 outdoor), the most by any coach in school history. • Michael Carter wins first individual indoor national championship for men's track and field with a shot put of 76–5½. • Men's swimming has streak of 23-straight SWC Championships end with second-place finish. The Mustangs would go on to finish second at each meet until 1994 when they finished third. The team finished second at the meet its final two years in the SWC.
1981 • A 10–1 record in 1981 vaulted the Ponies to their first conference title in 16 years as a new quarterback took over the reins of the Pony Express. Lance McIlhenny was the perfect leader for SMU's option attack, using his running ability and leadership capabilities to guide the Mustangs to a 34–5–1 record after taking over as the starting quarterback in the seventh game of his freshman season in 1980.
1982 • After Ron Meyer was named head coach of the New England Patriots prior to the 1982 season, Southern Mississippi coach Bobby Collins was named the Mustangs' new head coach. Dickerson, James and McIlhenny led SMU to an 11–0–1 record and number-two ranking in 1982, including a 7–3 victory over Pittsburgh and its star quarterback, Dan Marino, in the 1983 Cotton Bowl Classic. SMU was the only undefeated football team in the nation that season, but Penn State, with one loss, was named the national champion after defeating Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. • Despite coming from different backgrounds, Eric Dickerson and Craig James shared similar success before arriving at SMU. Both led their high schools to undefeated 15–0 seasons and state championships as prep seniors in 1978. Once at SMU, they became the heart of one of the most prolific backfields in college football history – "The Pony Express." • One of the most memorable plays in SMU football history took place on November 13, 1982, when Bobby Leach took a cross-field lateral on a kickoff with 17 seconds left and raced untouched for a 91-yard touchdown to give the Mustangs a 34–27 win over Texas Tech. The play helped preserve the Ponies' undefeated season and forever branded Leach with the nickname of "Miracle Man." Leach currently serves on SMU's Board of Trustees. • Rhonda Rompola, a transfer from Old Dominion, becomes SMU's first women's basketball All-American. Rompola would later return to SMU as an assistant coach and the most successful head women's basketball coach in school history.
1983 • 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. • SMU lost to Alabama, 28–7, in the 1983 Sun Bowl in El Paso. • 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.
1984 • SMU capped a 9–2 regular season with a 27–20 victory over Notre Dame in the 1984 Aloha Bowl in Honolulu. It was the first meeting between the two schools in 26 years. • 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). • Schellas Hyndman was named men's soccer coach at SMU. Hyndman, known worldwide as a 10th-degree black belt in the martial arts, is also an excellent soccer coach. He would go on to record his 200th win at SMU in 1997 and his 300th win overall the same year. In 1999, Hyndman appeared on the national television show You Asked For It, demonstrating his martial arts expertise.
1985 • Jon Koncak, who would later go on to a productive NBA career, is named second team men's basketball All-American. He was just the second Mustang to earn All-American honors. • Women's swimming goes undefeated in dual meets for the first time. • ATP Tour Professional Richey Reneberg named NCAA Rookie of the Year.
1986 • SMU receives the so-called "Death Penalty" on its football program, shutting down the program for the 1987 season. Although SMU could have competed in 1988, University officials cancelled that campaign. (See Southern Methodist University football scandal.) • SMU legend Doak Walker is elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Walker starred for the Detroit Lions from 1950–55. • SMU men's track and field team won the 1986 NCAA Outdoor team title, marking the third national championship in the program's history. • SMU players Reggie Dupard and Rod Jones are each selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. It marks the only time in school history that two Mustangs are drafted in the opening round. • The SMU women's soccer team begins competition under coach Alan Kirkup. Kirkup led SMU to an impressive 15–3–2 record in its inaugural season. • Women's track and field starts at SMU. • Diving coach Jim Stillson named U.S. Diving National Team Coach (1987–91). He would also make SWC history by being named Men and Women's Diving Coach of the Year – the first a coach has been named coach of the year in a men and women's sport in the same year. He would repeat the honor again in 1988 and 1989. • Men's tennis Richey Reneberg named Collegiate Tennis Player of the Year he would be named ATP Tour Newcomer of the Year as a professional.
1988 • 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. Forrest Gregg returned to accept what he called "the ultimate challenge" when he was named as the Ponies' head coach on January 14, 1988, 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.
1989 • 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. • Former SMU golfer Payne Stewart earned more than one million dollars on the PGA Tour (the second most that year) and won the 1989 PGA Championship. • The Mustangs first season back on the football field, SMU fields a team composed of 74 freshman, 16 of whom were starters. 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. • Jason Wolf set an NCAA freshman record when he caught 61 passes in 1989. He also led the Ponies in scoring (50 points), and his 61 receptions are the fourth-highest total in SMU history. • After playing their home games in Ownby Stadium from 1926–1948, the Mustangs returned their home games to the on-campus facility in 1989. SMU hosted Rice in the season opener on September 2, marking the return of Mustang football to Ownby exactly 40 years and 11 months after SMU's last game there. • Diving coach Jim Stillson named NCAA Men's Coach of the Year.
1990 • On April 11, 1990, Forrest Gregg assumed the role of athletic director, while announcing that he would relinquish his coaching duties following the 1990 season. • Lisa Cole becomes SMU's first women's soccer All-American. She leads the Mustangs to their first NCAA Tournament appearance that season. • Women's track & field scores first team points at NCAA Championships in third year of program with a tie for 37th place. JoAnn Hacker becomes first female track & field athlete to be named All-American (shot put 1990, '92, '93)
1991 • Diving coach Jim Stillson named NCAA Women's Coach of the Year, he also won the award again in 1995. • Women's swimming coach Steve Collins named NCAA Women's Swimming Coach of the Year – again in 1996.
1992 • Jason Wolf ended his career with 235 receptions, making him the Southwest Conference's career leader in that category. • 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.
1993 • SMU earns the last of its 13 Southwest Conference men's basketball titles. Senior guard Mike Wilson is named the SWC Player of the Year by the Associated Press. The Mustangs advanced to the NCAA Tournament to face Brigham Young in the opening round in Chicago. • The women's basketball team recorded its first 20-win season (20–10) and established itself as a legitimate national contender. SMU, making its first postseason tournament appearance, advanced to the third round of the 1993 National Women's Invitation Tournament in Amarillo, Texas. • Alan Prampin becomes the first SMU men's soccer player to be drafted by Major League Soccer (Kansas City Wizards). • Men's Swimming Coach Eddie Sinnott coaches the United States' squad at the World University Games. • Men's tennis Richey Reneberg was the No. 1 ranked doubles player in the world. He earned three double titles and one singles title while earning more than $600,000 on the professional tennis tour. He would play on to US Davis Cup teams in 1994 and 1997.
1994 • The winds of change swept across the Hilltop following the 1994 season as SMU prepared to begin its 77th and final season of play in the Southwest Conference after announcing that it would accept an invitation to join the Western Athletic Conference beginning in 1996. • The women's diving team wins the 1994 U.S. Diving Outdoor National Championship. • The SMU women's basketball team makes its first NCAA Tournament appearance in coach Rhonda Rompola's third season. The Mustangs had a breakthrough win at national power Texas, snapping the Lady Longhorns' 29-game winning streak over SMU.
1995 • The SMU women's soccer team advances to the Final Four for the first time in program history. SMU ended the season ranked third in the nation. • The women's diving team wins both the 1995 U.S. Diving Indoor and Outdoor National Championships. • Coinciding with the final SWC season was the return of SMU football to the Cotton Bowl. After playing most of their home games the previous six seasons at Ownby Stadium, SMU made "The House That Doak Built" its home stadium in 1995. • Always on the cutting edge of college athletics, SMU partners with Broadcast.com to broadcast the first college football game (SMU vs. Arkansas) worldwide over the Internet. • SMU's men's and women's cross country teams earn their highest finishes, 21st and 17th, respectively, at the 1995 NCAA Championships. • The SMU women's basketball team advanced in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, defeating Southern Miss in overtime, 96–95. • Lisa Seifert hired to head new volleyball program. She came from Texas Tech where she was an assistant coach. • Women's track and field places in top 10 at NCAA Outdoor Championships for first time. Katie Swords earns first individual NCAA title by winning the 10,000 meters with a time of 34:28.46.
1996 • If 1992's 19 SMU Olympians weren't impressive enough, an incredible 23 current or former Mustang student-athletes competed in the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Three SMU swimmers – Ryan Berube (gold medal for U.S. in 800 freestyle relay), Lars Frölander (silver for Sweden in 800 freestyle relay) and Marianne Kriel (bronze for South Africa in 100 backstroke) – earned medals at the Summer Games. Amazingly, SMU had more Olympians than 113 of the 197 delegations (57 percent) on hand for the Olympics. • SMU women's swimming and diving team places second at the 1996 NCAA Championships. • On Dec. 20, 1996, Mike Cavan was named the 14th head coach of the Mustangs. Cavan arrived from East Tennessee State, where he finished runner-up in voting for the 1996 Division I-AA National Coach of the Year Award. • SMU competes for the first year as a member of the Western Athletic Conference • In February, four-year letter winner Jennie Amos becomes first SMU recruit to sign a National Letter of Intent for volleyball. • On Aug. 30,1996, volleyball competes in first ever match, a 3–0 loss to Nevada. • Volleyball wins first match – 3–1 over Wichita State on Aug. 31. • Katie Swords becomes the first individual in the history of the SWC Track & Field meet – male or female – to score 40 points when she won the 10,000 meters on Thursday, the 3,000 on Friday, and the 1,500 and 5,000 on Saturday. Following the 5,000 meters win, Swords ran back to the team hotel a mile and a half from R. P. Fuller Track and Soccer Field in Lubbock, Texas. • SMU became the first school ever to have three discus throwers top the 200-foot mark in the same season—Alex Tammert 212–7, Jason Tunks 209–6 and Ian Winchester 200–1. • Men's soccer star Alan Prampin became SMU's first Major League Soccer professional player. He played for the Kansas City Wizards in 1996.
1997 • The women's diving team wins both the 1997 U.S. Diving Indoor and Outdoor National Championships • It did not take long for head coach Mike Cavan's influence to be felt—he led SMU to a 6–5 overall record (5–3 WAC) in 1997, marking the first winning season for the Mustangs since 1986. After a 1–4 start, SMU rebounded to win five consecutive games, marking its longest winning streak in 12 years. Cavan was named the WAC Coach of the Year by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for his efforts in 1997. • In the history of SMU athletics, June 13, 1997, may stand out as the most significant day since the program's inception in 1915. That day is when University officials announced that significant funds had been raised to begin construction on the brand new Gerald J. Ford Stadium and the Paul B. Loyd, Jr. All-Sports Center. The state-of-the-art facility would not have been possible without the generous initial contributions of Gerald J. Ford, Lamar and Norma Hunt, Ray L. and Nancy Ann Hunt, and Sherrill and Jo Ann Pettus, all of whom are SMU alumni. • Quarterback Ramon Flanigan became SMU's all-time leader in total offense (7,437 yards) and touchdowns responsible for (57) with a solid senior season in 1997. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility prior to 1997 by the NCAA. • In 1997, the Mustang Band made a recording with The Light Crust Doughboys (a group already enshrined in the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame) entitled The High Road on the Hilltop. That project made it into the second round of Grammy voting in several categories. • On January 25, 1997, the SMU and TCU women's basketball teams established the NCAA records for most points scored by both teams (252) in a four-overtime 127–125 Mustang win. After scoring just one point in the first half, SMU guard Shawna Ford ended up with 42 points in the Mustangs' dramatic victory in Fort Worth. SMU's 127-point performance set a school record for most points scored in a game. It was just the seventh time in NCAA history that a women's basketball game went to four overtimes. • Men's soccer coach Schellas Hyndman recorded his 200th win at SMU against Tulsa in 1997 and his 300th career coaching win overall against TCU. • Daniel Hernandez was named the NSCAA Division I Men's Soccer Player of the Year, becoming the first Mustang to be honored as a national player of the year. Herandez's career ended in the NCAA Quarterfinals vs. St. Louis in one of the most memorable soccer games in NCAA history. SMU and St. Louis played to a 0–0 tie in inclement weather in Dallas. The field conditions at Westcott Field became so poor that the game was moved to the Astroturf at Ownby Stadium. There was a 60-minute delay with 2:22 remaining in the first overtime. Following two scoreless overtime periods, St. Louis defeated SMU, 5–3, in a shootout to advance to the Final Four. • Volleyball earns first bid to WAC post-season tournament by winning five-of-six matches over quad foes TCU, Rice and Tulsa. • Senior defensive specialist Charity Savedra becomes first volleyball player to receive post season honors by being named second team All-WAC defensive specialist. • Women's swimming team wins first conference championship in its history. • Tom Presthus became the first SMU men's soccer player to be drafted. He was taken by D.C. United in the second round.
1998 • SMU golfer Hank Kuehne becomes the first Mustang to win the U.S. Amateur. • The women's diving team wins the 1998 U.S. Diving Indoor National Championship. • Football player, Doak Walker, dies at the age of 71 on September 27, 1998. • In 1998, SMU broke ground on its new state-of-the-art facilities, including Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Ford Stadium became the permanent on-campus home of the Mustang football squad beginning in 2000. • The SMU men's soccer team was ranked number one by Soccer America in the nation after upsetting defending national champion Indiana in Dallas. It marked the first time in program history that SMU men's soccer was the top-ranked team in the nation. • Windy Dean becomes first woman in history to win three consecutive NCAA javelin titles. She was only the second female to win the javelin three times at the NCAA Meet. • SMU became the first school to place its men and women's track and field teams in the top 10 at both the NCAA Indoor and Outdoor Championships. • Lars Frölander named NCAA Swimmer of the Year.
1999 • The women's diving team wins the 1999 U.S. Diving Indoor National Championship. • SMU sophomore Jeryl Sasser becomes just the second sophomore in Western Athletic Conference history to earn the league's men's basketball Player of the Year Award. One of the nation's finest all-around players, Sasser was the first SMU player in history to lead the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals. • The SMU women's basketball team wins its first conference title after winning the 1999 Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship in Las Vegas. The Mustangs advance to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time in the past six seasons under coach Rhonda Rompola. Karlin Kennedy was named 1999 WAC Tournament MVP and Claudia Brassard and Nici Johnson were each named to the All-Tournament team as SMU stunned fourth-ranked Colorado State, 65–49, in the championship game. • SMU great Eric Dickerson was inducted into the Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, in 1999. He became the fifth Mustang to earn Pro Football Hall of Fame status.
- Women's rowing becomes SMU's newest sport. Head coach Kerry O'Keefe was hired to run the program, which will feature more than 60 student-athletes on its roster.
- Former SMU golfer Payne Stewart wins his second U.S. Open Championship (the first was in 1991). By the end of the year, Stewart would die in a plane crash while on his way to Dallas to discuss the building of a new home course for the SMU golf teams.
- Former SMU soccer player Tom Presthus became the first Mustang to be named to the MLS All-Star Team. Presthus is a standout goalie for D.C. United.
- Women's swimmer Martina Moravcova, one of the most decorated swimmers in NCAA history, receives 1998–99 Honda Award for women's swimming and diving. Moravcova ended her four-year career at SMU a 25-time All-American and 14-time NCAA Champion, including 10 individual titles. Her 10 individual titles were the most in the modern era – a time when swimmers were not restricted to only three events at the NCAA's each year. Moravcova also ends her career ranked first in the world (short course) in the 200 free (1:55.12) and 200 IM (2:08.55). She won 26 conference title out of a possible 28 as a collegian (21 WAC, eight SWC). She became the first individual in WAC history to win both the 100 free and 200 IM three years in a row.
- Women's swimming becomes first team to sweep all 21 events at WAC Championships.
- Gerald J. Ford Stadium opens on the former site of Ownby Stadium.
- The SMU football Team finally made their first bowl appearance in 25 years in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl.
- The SMU football team went to its second straight bowl game. The Mustangs played and lost, 16–14, to Army in the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl.
- The SMU Basketball Team was put on 2 years' probation for violations regarding text messaging recruits.
- Following the 2011 season, the SMU Football Team went to its third straight bowl game. The Mustangs defeated Pittsburgh 28-6 in the 2012 BBVA Compass Bowl.
- At the conclusion of the 2012 season, the Mustangs were heavy underdogs when matched up against the Fresno State Bulldogs, following the Bulldogs' 9-2 season, for the 2012 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Current Cincinnati Bengals defensive end, Margus Hunt, was named the MVP of the game, after showcasing his talent. Hunt forced two fumbles and racked up three sacks, including one for a safety. SMU would go on to win the Christmas Eve bowl game 43-10.
In men's basketball, the Mustangs have one Final Four Appearance accompanied by 14 Southwest Conference Championships. In April 2012, SMU hired Hall of Fame Coach Larry Brown to lead the Mustangs. Larry Brown is the only coach to have won both an NBA Finals and an NCAA Championship. Brown's first recruiting class, in 2013, was ranked as high as the #14 recruiting class in the nation.
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, including a recent 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.
SMU's men's golf team has grown to be a national contender. It was named the number 16 golf team in the nation by Golf Digest in 2006, and produced pro golfer Colt Knost.
- Final Four Appearances
* denotes shared title
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, 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.
The Mustangs' football legacy includes five Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductees, including Heisman winner Doak Walker, All-American Eric Dickerson, and two-time Super Bowl winner Forrest Gregg—whom Vince Lombardi called "the finest player I ever coached." 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.
* denotes shared title
The "death penalty"
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.
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. When the sanctions were handed down, SMU had only three players – all seniors about to graduate – receiving payments.
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. 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 have had only three winning seasons since the "Death Penalty," and two bowl appearances. At the end of the 2009 regular season SMU was bowl eligible for the third time since the "Death Penalty" (6–5 in 1997, 6–6 in 2006). SMU made its first bowl appearance since the "Death Penalty" in winning the 2009 Hawaii Bowl.
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 not only making the cut at the PGA Tour's EDS Byron Nelson Championship, but also shooting a record setting 64 for an amateur golfer. The 2015 team was given a postseason ban.
National team championships
As of July 2, 2015, SMU has 4 NCAA team national championships.