As SMU celebrates the centennial of its founding in 1911 and opening in 1915, the University also is marking 100 years of achievements in athletics through a recently released book, In Honor of the Mustangs.
The first comprehensive history of SMU athletics showcases exploits on the gridiron, from the football team’s infamous 146-3 loss to the Rice Owls in 1916 to its 45-10 victory over Nevada in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl. Also highlighted are achievements in swimming, basketball, volleyball, track and field, cross country, tennis, baseball, and equestrian competition.
The book also looks at athletics in the context of the history of SMU and American higher education in general.
In Honor of the Mustangs was written by professor emeritus of communications and SMU centennial historian Darwin Payne ’68. Photo editor Gerry York ’58, curator of SMU’s Heritage Hall, selected the 650 photographs to illustrate the sports history.
Payne, who received an M.A. in history from SMU and a Ph.D. in American civilization from UT-Austin in 1973, taught journalism at the University for 30 years. He has written extensively about Dallas history and is the author of numerous books, including his most recent, Quest for Justice, a biography of Louis A. Bedford Jr. (SMU Press, 2009).
Payne says that although he had known about SMU athletics and been a sports fan all his life, “I was surprised at the national prominence SMU football teams achieved in the 1920s because of coach Ray Morrison,” Payne says. “The teams’ reliance on the forward pass became a national sensation, popularizing it as an offensive weapon, and SMU was perhaps the first Southwest Conference team to schedule significant intersectional games.
“Although football suffered after the ‘death penalty,’ other SMU sports teams generally thrived, and together they provided the University with one of the best all-round sports programs in the nation for private universities. There were many prominent athletes through the years who largely have been forgotten, and I hope this book will help bring them the attention they deserve.”
The editorial advisory group included Roman Kupchynsky II ’80, president of the Lettermen’s Association; Chuck Hixson ’70, former SMU quarterback and president-elect of the Lettermen’s Association; C. Paul Rogers III, professor of law and faculty athletics representative for SMU since 1987; Joan Gosnell, University archivist; and Russell L. Martin III ’78, director of DeGolyer Library.
Published jointly by the Lettermen’s Association and SMU’s DeGolyer Library, In Honor of the Mustangs costs $55 per copy, including tax and shipping. Make checks payable to “DeGolyer Library, SMU” and note “sports book” on the memo line. Fill out and return the order form (PDF format) to DeGolyer Library, SMU, Dallas TX 75275-0396.
For more information, contact Pam Anderson, 214-768-0829. Copies also are sold at Culwell & Son, across Hillcrest Avenue from SMU’s main campus. For more information, call 214-522-7000.
Written by Susan White for SMU Magazine