SMU Trustee and Campaign Steering Committee for Athletics Co-chair Paul B. Loyd, Jr. ’68 is a leading member of Circle of Champions, a group working under the direction of the University who helped support the recruitment of a nationally known coach and provided other support for the SMU football program. Campaign Update spoke to Mr. Loyd following the Mustangs’ Sheraton Hawaii Bowl victory.

Campaign Update: What made Circle of Champions so successful?

Loyd: The Circle of Champions is a very special group of people. They like to win, and they like to make things happen. I think you’ll see the Circle of Champions expand its role and help out in other areas related to athletics. But the Circle of Champions model could be replicated for almost any other area of the University. It just requires a core group of people who want to get together and make something good happen. And when you get a group of motivated and dynamic people in a room together, they generate a lot of good ideas.

CU: What were your emotions as you watched the team win the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl?

Loyd: We were the biggest underdog of any team in any bowl game. So all of us had some trepidation. And it turned out that the game wasn’t even close. It was a thrill! I don’t recall ever having a thrill like that. It was something that money can’t buy. The game was played on Christmas Eve, and it was an Über Christmas present.

CU: How do you predict the team will do next year?

Loyd: The new recruiting class is the best by far in the past 25 years. One of the considerations that led to Coach June Jones’ hiring was his extraordinary ability to attract athletes. Next season we play two very difficult games to open the season – at Texas Tech and then against TCU at home. We’ll be underdogs in both, and the first-year players will not have had an opportunity to mature. After five or six games they will really improve. With June Jones, you know it’s going to be interesting and it’s going to be fun.

CU: Do you feel the team’s success can help the University by supporting Second Century Campaign efforts?

Loyd: Yes. I’ve noticed that some recent SMU events were better attended because of the successful football season. And there was a buzz about the team among many of the alumni. I think this kind of success puts everyone in a more positive frame of mind about the University. And when they feel more positive, they are likely to be more generous.