Sports

Jody and Sheila Grant pledge $1.5 million to SMU’s Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center

Robson and Lindley Aquatics Center, artist's rendering

Former varsity swimmer Joseph M. “Jody” Grant ’60 met his wife, Sheila Peterson Grant, while they were both SMU students. Now they have provided $1.5 million to help fund the University’s new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center.

With their gift, they’ve also created the Sheila and Jody Grant Challenge, which encourages other donors to give the remaining $1.5 million to complete the Center’s $22 million funding goal. The 42,000-square-foot facility, soon to be home to the University’s internationally recognized men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams, will be dedicated Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, during SMU Homecoming.

Jody and Sheila Grant

Jody and Sheila Grant

“As community business and philanthropic leaders, Jody and Sheila Grant know the importance of reaching the finish line and completing worthy goals,” said SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “Their generosity is inspirational and helps get us closer to completing funding for the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and providing a place where our student athletes can continue the championship legacy of SMU swimming and diving.”

Jody Grant attended SMU on a swimming scholarship. He earned four individual Southwest Conference swimming championships and was twice named to the All-America team.

“SMU’s swimming program has been near and dear to my heart since Coach Red Barr recruited me many years ago to swim for the Mustangs,” said Dr. Grant. “I am honored to support this new facility, which will be home for the swimming program that was so meaningful to me.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

NCAA, Olympic diving coach Jim Stillson to retire after 33 years at SMU

Jim Stillson, AAC Diving Coach of the Year 2017

SMU’s Jim Stillson with the American Athletic Conference’s 2017 Diving Coach of the Year Award. Stillson has announced his retirement after 33 years with SMU.

SMU Diving Coach Jim Stillson, a three-time NCAA Coach of the Year and 16-time conference Coach of the Year, has announced his retirement after 33 seasons on the Hilltop.

As head of the Mustang men’s and women’s programs, Stillson coached four individuals to eight NCAA Championships and 20 student-athletes to 71 All-America honors. He has also mentored three NCAA Divers of the Year and 10 U.S. National Champions. Overall, 21 of Stillson’s SMU divers have won 89 conference championships.

“We want to thank Coach Stillson for his years of service and his outstanding contributions to the successes of our student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics Rick Hart. “He is a legend in his field and has set the standard for SMU Diving. He has positioned us to compete for championships for years to come. We look forward to having him back on campus this fall when we open our new natatorium and having him join us to celebrate the future championships our divers will win because of the foundation he has laid.”

On the international level, Stillson has coached three Olympians to four appearances, including SMU alumnus Scott Donie (USA), who competed at the 1992 and 1996 Games, winning silver in 1992. Stillson also mentored 1996 Olympians Ali Al-Hasan (Kuwait) and Tony Iglesias (Bolivia).

In 1989, Stillson was named the NCAA Men’s Diving Coach of the Year and, in 1990 and 1995, the NCAA Women’s Diving Coach of the Year. Stillson served as one of the U.S. Diving National Team coaches from 1987-91 and again in 1997, leading the team at events in countries such as Europe, Australia, China and the Soviet Union. In addition, he was selected as a team leader for the USA Diving team at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Stillson’s honors include the 1999 U.S. Olympic Committee Diving Coach of the Year award and the 1992 Mike Malone Memorial Award, given for outstanding contributions to diving by the national governing body of the sport. In 2015, he was honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame with the Paragon Award, which is presented annually to individuals or organizations for outstanding contributions to aquatics.

> Read the full story from SMU Athletics

SMU Women’s Basketball takes on Indiana in WNIT third round Thursday, March 23, 3017

SMU WNIT 2017 header

The SMU women’s basketball team extended an impressive 2016-17 season by advancing to the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) for the first time since 1993. They will face Indiana tonight (Thursday, March 23) in Bloomington at 6 p.m. Central time.

The Mustangs have won multiple games in a postseason tournament for just the second time in program history; they played in the WNIT championship game in 1993. Fans can watch the game on the Big Ten Network Plus, or listen to the game in the Dallas area on KAAM 770 AM. Tournament notes are available at www.WomensNIT.com.

> Visit SMU Gameday for TV, radio and live stats information: SMUMustangs.com/gameday

The team earned its 19th victory of the season 59-52 over Abilene Christian Monday night in Moody Coliseum. Senior Morgan Bolton led the Mustangs with 15 points, shooting 3-for-5 from the three-point line and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. She also recorded three assists and three rebounds. Red-shirt junior McKenzie Adams finished with 12 points and five rebounds, her 24th game of the season scoring in double figures and the fifth consecutive. Red-shirt junior Kiara Perry added 11 points and six rebounds, while junior Stephanie Collins finished with seven points and five rebounds.

> Read the full story from SMU-Abilene Christian at SMUMustangs.com

No. 14 SMU men’s basketball team clinches share of 2016-17 AAC title with 93-70 win over Tulsa

The No. 14 SMU men’s basketball team locked up at least a share of the 2016-17 American Athletic Conference regular-season championship with a decisive 93-70 victory over Tulsa on Thursday, March 2 in Moody Coliseum.

Redshirt junior psychology major Semi Ojeleye, who earlier in the day had been named to the CoSIDA 2016-17 Academic All-America second team, was perfect from the field. Yet he was more impressed with a play from a sitting position by sophomore Shake Milton that set up a Mustang goal and made highlight reels throughout sports media. (See a video profile of Ojeleye by SMU News’ Myles Taylor in the video link above.)

Milton maintained control of the ball after tripping just past midcourt, even dribbling between his legs, before passing to senior sport management major Sterling Brown, who delivered the alley-oop to Ojeleye. Milton racked up his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 assists, even without getting any stats for the highlight play.

Ojeleye made all nine of his field goal attempts, including three 3-pointers, and all five starters scored in double figures for the Mustangs (26-4, 16-1). Sophomore Jarrey Foster added 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while Brown scored 19 points and senior English major Ben Moore netted 12 .

The Mustangs have a 12-game winning streak and a one-game lead in the AAC standings over No. 18 Cincinnati (26-4, 15-2), which won its home finale 65-47 over Houston earlier Thursday night. They can take sole possession of the league title with a win at home Saturday over Memphis.

> Read the full story from SMU Athletics

Mustang Football announces 2017 schedule

SMU FootballSMU Football has announced its 2017 schedule, which will include seven home games. The Mustangs will open the season with their annual Whiteout in Ford Stadium on Sept. 2 against Stephen F. Austin. They will remain at home the following week, hosting 2016 bowl team North Texas on Sept. 9.

Visiting teams during the 2017 season will include 2016 bowl teams Tulsa, UCF and Arkansas State, as well as American Athletic Conference rivals Tulane and UConn.

Highlights include:

  • TCU, The Battle for the Iron Skillet, Sept. 16 in Fort Worth
  • Arkansas State, Sept. 23 (Family Weekend)
  • UConn, Sept. 30 (conference game)
  • UCF, Nov. 4 (Homecoming)
  • Tulane, Nov. 25 (Senior Day, conference game)

> Find the full 2017 Mustang football schedule at SMUMustangs.com

Sports: Rescheduled SMU Football Fan Day includes scrimmage Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016

SMU Football red chrome helmetAfter a postponement for inclement weather, the rescheduled SMU Football Fan Day will take place Saturday, Aug. 27 in Ford Stadium. Gates will open at 5:30 p.m., and all activities are free and open to the public.

Posters, schedule cards and #GetHereForGameday yard signs will be available at the event. In addition, fans will be able to come onto the field after the intersquad scrimmage for autographs and photos with the Mustangs.

SMU will play Liberty University in the 2016 home opener Saturday, Sept. 17. Other home games include five opponents who were ranked in 2015, including Houston, USF, Navy, Memphis and TCU, who come to Dallas xxx for the 2016 Battle For the Iron Skillet.

The team’s 2016 season begins Saturday, Sept. 3 at the University of North Texas. The Mustangs take on the Mean Green at 6 p.m. in Apogee Stadium, Denton.

Season tickets are still available. For information on faculty-staff discounts, call the Athletics Department Ticket Office at 214-768-4263 (214-SMU-GAME) or visit GetHereForGameday.com.

By | 2016-08-25T16:02:32+00:00 August 25, 2016|Categories: Calendar Highlights, Sports|Tags: , , , |

Mustang spirit squads shine at 2016 NCA Collegiate National Championship

SMU Cheerleaders, 2016 NCA Champions, 400px

SMU cheerleaders react after being named 2016 NCA Champions

The SMU cheer squad had plenty to cheer about after winning first place at the NCA Collegiate National Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida – the first time the team has captured the title. The 20-member team competed against 17 other teams in the Intermediate Small Coed Division in the two-day April event.

“Last year we placed second by .08, so this team was laser-focused on winning,” said SMU cheer and pom coach Tiffany Fettinger. “The students performed a perfect routine at finals. I am so proud of them.”

Qualifying for the competition began during cheerleading camp at SMU in summer 2015 when the team was offered the highest bid to the championship after its performance. In the time between qualifying for the competition and winning the championship, the SMU cheer squad supported SMU football, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball teams as well as appearing at numerous other SMU events.

SMU Pom Squad, 3rd place, NCA 2016, 400px

The SMU Pom Squad at Daytona Beach

Members of the winning squad include Jessie Abernathy, Sarah Almeida, Tess Balentine, Charleigh Berry Meg Bres, Hanna Clarke, Austin Copeland, Reid Burkett, Ashton Chmielewski, Blaise Graham, Stefanie Henger, Isaac Huerta, Kendall Kramer, Camille Monette, Brandon Niven, Janie Pascoe, Lindsey Ray, Colette Rushing, Morgan Silva, Sydney Tomlinson and Nathan Williams.

SMU Pom also performed well at the competition, placing third in Pom Division I.

Pom team members include Natalie Brock, Caroline Carter, Rachel Cocke, Shannon Flaherty, Emma Hill, Lisa Ingham, Jenny Katlein, Alexis Kopp, Katherine McGowan, Karlie Morris, Erika Olsen, Brooke Peterson, Morgan Peterson, Blake Ann Seeker, Rachael Seidl, Grace Stokes, Blair Welch, Jordan Woodruff, Megan Young and Ashley Jo Zaccagnini

The National Cheerleaders Association has its roots at SMU, founded in 1948 by former SMU cheerleader and creator of the “Herkie” jump, Lawrence Herkimer ’48.

Nancy George

Sports: End of the year doesn’t stop the SMU Mustangs

equestrianteamSix Mustangs Earn Academic All-America Accolades, 13 Named to Honor Roll: Fourteen members of the SMU equestrian team earned National Collegiate Equestrian Association academic honors, the NCEA announced. Six riders earned spots on the Beval Saddlery Academic All-America team, while 13 were named to the La Hacienda Academic Honor Roll. Schaefer Raposa, Sylvia de Toledo and Keagan Snively achieved first-team status, which is awarded to student-athletes who competed in a minimum of 70 percent of meets during the 2015-16 season, and earned a cumulative 3.5 GPA. de Toledo achieved a team-high 3.97 GPA, Raposa boasted a 3.70 and Snively maintained a 3.54.

Three Mustangs Qualify for Rio Olympic GamesNina Rangelova ’15 (Bulgaria), Rachel Nicol ’16 (Canada) and Matea Samardzic (Croatia) are headed to Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games. Qualification rounds are ongoing but these three have already reached Olympic Qualifying Time standards in at least one event. Rangelova, current volunteer assistant coach, will be making her third appearance at an Olympics game. Nicol will be participating in her first. Samardzic who is set to join SMU for the 2016-2017 year will also be competing for the first time. Swimming action runs from Aug. 6-13 so be sure to support our Mustangs!

averyAcker Receives Presidential Award of Excellence: Avery Acker, a senior volleyball player, received the Presidential Award of Excellence: Scholar/Athlete Award at the Hilltop Excellence Awards. Acker was also named 2015-16 American Athletic Conference Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year earlier this semester. Acker will attend medical school in the fall.

goldwomenMustangs Selected For NCAA Women’s Golf Bryan Regional: The SMU women’s golf team has been selected as one of 18 teams to compete at the NCAA Women’s Golf Regional held in Bryan, Texas, at Traditions Club May 5-7. SMU is the No.9 seed for the event. The Mustangs are seeking their first NCAA Championship appearance since 1992. The top six teams from each Regional will earn a championship berth, as well as the top three individuals from non-qualifying teams.

Travis Mays Named Head Women’s Basketball Coach at SMU

travismaysTravis Mays has been named the new Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Director of Athletics Rick Hart announced last week. Mays previously served as an assistant coach for 14 years at various schools, serving under three hall of fame coaches. He has also played 11 years of professional basketball both domestically and abroad.

> SMU Forum: Rhonda Rompola announces retirement after 35 years with SMU women’s basketball.

“After meeting with Travis, I immediately knew that he was ready to be a head coach,” said Hart. “He has a tremendous coaching pedigree, having learned from some of the best in the business. Everyone spoke so highly of Travis — even those outside his immediate coaching circle, like Geno Auriemma. Travis displays strong character and a will to succeed. In short, he is a winner.”

Not only is Travis a gifted floor coach but he is also a recruiter with Texas roots. He graduated from the University of Texas, playing as a guard from 1986-90,  later going on to serve a three-year stint for the women’s basketball program from 2004-07 and then returning in 2012 to serve as Assistant Head Coach. He comes to SMU from Texas where he spent the past four seasons. His duties at Texas included recruiting, preparing opponent scouting reports, instructing guards on the court and public speaking at various community service and campus events.

“I think as a former player at Texas, Travis has name recognition and the ability to recruit that will make him a tremendous hire at SMU,” said Van Chancellor, a Hall of Fame Coach. “Sometimes during a hire, the Athletic Director is trying to hit a home run, and I think SMU has hit a grand slam.”

> Find more information on Coach Mays’ extensive background on the SMU Athletics page

Sports: Hard work all around

tennisSMU Tops UMBC 6-1: The #44 SMU Mustang’s Tennis team picked up their 13th win of the season on Tuesday night here at the Turpin Stadium at the SMU Tennis Complex. After beating UMBC, they’ve now extended their win streak to a season-high eight matches. Head Coach Carl Neufeld was especially proud of their dedication throughout the game. On Thursday night, the Mustangs fell in a tight match to #39 Columbia in Turpin Stadium. They’ll be back at it on Saturday against Dartmouth.

footballpracitceMustangs Kicked Off Spring Practice: Preparations for the 2016 season of SMU Football began on March 15. Fifteen practice sessions will take place over the next four-plus weeks. The practices will culminate in the Spring Game schedule for April 16 at 1 p.m. The game is open to the public and admission is free for all fans. Make sure to be there in support of the second year of the #PonyUpTempo era!

SMU Basketball in the AP Top 25: In the final AP Top 25 poll of the season, SMU came in at No. 24. The Mustangs have been ranked for the 17th consecutive week this season. The team finished with a 25-5 record for the season and placed second in the American conference at 13-5 in league action. Hats off to the SMU Men’s Basketball team for an outstanding season!

By | 2016-03-21T10:53:13+00:00 March 18, 2016|Categories: Sports|Tags: , , , |
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