Athletics

Texas native, former Cal and Louisiana Tech coach Sonny Dykes named SMU head football coach Dec. 11, 2017

Sonny Dykes, center, with SMU President R. Gerald Turner and Athletic Director Rick Hart

Sonny Dykes (center) was named SMU’s head football coach Monday, Dec. 11, 2017, at a press conference with President R. Gerald Turner (left) and Athletic Director Rick Hart.

Sonny Dykes has been named SMU’s head football coach, as Director of Athletics Rick Hart announced on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. Dykes arrives on the Hilltop after head coaching stints at Cal and Louisiana Tech. He will coach the Mustangs in the DXL Frisco Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 20.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be introduced as the Head Coach at SMU. This is home and this is a program I grew up watching. I watched Mustang legends compete and I could always see myself putting on that iconic pony. Today, I’m proud to do just that,” Dykes said. “Coach Morris did great things here and I am fortunate that I have been selected to take the foundation Chad and his staff put in place and take it to a new level. And, make no mistake, that is what we plan to do.

“This is a proud football program with a rich tradition,” he added. “It is also a proud academic institution. I place great emphasis on both. We will set lofty goals for our program, but will keep our primary focus on improving every day in all phases on and off the field to ensure we build a total program and shape champions.”

“It is my pleasure to introduce Sonny Dykes as the Head Football Coach at SMU,” said Hart. “Coach Dykes is enthusiastic about joining the Mustang family. He has a plan to assemble a talented staff, dedicated to shaping champions and pursuing championships with integrity. Coach Dykes shares our commitment to establishing SMU as the best overall program in the American Athletic Conference.”

Dykes, the son of former longtime Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes, spent four seasons at Cal (2013-16) and three seasons at Louisiana Tech (2010-12). He served as an offensive analyst at TCU in 2017.

At Cal, Dykes returned the school’s football program to national prominence and a post-season bowl game. Inheriting a team that went 3-9 in the season before his arrival, Dykes had the Bears at 8-5 just three seasons later, capping the 2015 season with a win over Air Force at the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

Dykes came to Cal after spending three seasons at Louisiana Tech where he directed an offense that led the nation in both scoring offense (51.50 ppg) and total offense (577.92 ypg) during his final campaign at the helm in 2012. He spent three seasons as head coach for the Bulldogs, compiling a 22-15 overall record and winning 16 of 17 regular-season games during one stretch over the 2011 and 2012 schedules.

As offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona for three seasons from 2007-09, Dykes helped the Wildcats to the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl and 2009 Holiday Bowl after Arizona had not reached the postseason for 10 years. Arizona posted marks of 8-5 both seasons and tied for second in what was then the Pac-10 in 2009 with a 6-3 league mark.

Prior to his tenure at Arizona, Dykes spent seven seasons at his alma mater Texas Tech, serving as receivers coach from 2000-04 and adding the title of co-offensive coordinator from 2005-06. The Red Raiders made seven straight postseason appearances and won 56 games during the span, including four postseason victories over his last five seasons in the Tangerine, Houston, Holiday and Insight bowls. In 2006, Dykes received the Mike Campbell Top Assistant Coach Award from the American Football Coaches Association, the same year he was recognized as one of the top 25 recruiters in the country by Rivals.

Dykes began his collegiate coaching career with a two-year stint (1995-96) at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. He also was a baseball assistant at Monahans High School in Texas in 1994 and a football assistant at Richardson’s J.J. Pearce High School in 1995.

Born in Big Springs, Texas, Dykes received his bachelor’s degree in history from Texas Tech in 1993 and was a member of the Red Raider baseball team for two seasons. He is married to the former Kate Golding and they have two daughters, Alta (Ally) and Charlotte (Charlie), and a son, Daniel.

> Read the full story from SMU Athletics

By | 2017-12-14T14:38:08+00:00 December 12, 2017|Categories: News, Sports|Tags: , , , , , , |

SMU remembers legendary swim coach George “Mac” McMillion

Known to most on the Hilltop as “Coach Mac,” legendary SMU swimming coach George McMillion has died. McMillion’s passing on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017 came just days after the dedication of the new Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium last week.

McMillion was the head coach of the SMU men’s swimming team from 1971-88 after a standout career as a student-athlete and 14 years as an assistant coach. His impact on the SMU swimming program helped inspire the construction of the new center and led to his name being attached to the facility.

“I will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to be involved with SMU swimming while attending SMU,” said former SMU swimmer and a lead donor to the Aquatics Center, Bruce Robson. “Coach Mac made an impact on my life and the lives of so many others. His influence will continue to be felt at SMU for years to come.”

Another lead donor, Steve Lindley, said, “I always admired Coach Mac’s commitment and dedication to and passion for SMU, its swimming and diving programs, and especially his swimmers. You can’t put a value on this. Not only was he a very successful coach, but he was truly interested in and positively impacted all the people he touched. I am also very thankful to all those that helped make the new Aquatic Center and Natatorium a reality. This was Coach Mac’s vision and it is certainly a very fitting legacy to him.”

SMU President R. Gerald Turner echoed Lindley’s sentiments.

“Coach Mac’s legacy as a student-athlete, mentor and coach will live on has an enduring legacy at SMU and in the world of swimming,” Turner said. “His accomplishments at SMU are legendary, but it’s the positive impact he had on those around him that will forever define his greatness.”

Former SMU swimmer and lead donor Dr. Jody Grant said McMillion built on a history of winning at SMU.

“Coach Mac added to the outstanding swimming tradition established by Coach Red Barr many years ago,” he said. “It’s been an honor to be associated with the program over the years. Coach Mac will be greatly missed by all of us in the swimming community, but what he helped build here at SMU will live on forever.”

SMU Director of Athletics Rick Hart said McMillion was revered by the SMU swimming community.

“The Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center is a reality because his commitment and love of SMU swimming and diving inspired others to give back,” Hart said. “While we are saddened by his passing, and I will personally miss visiting with him on Thursday mornings, we take solace in knowing that the Barr-McMillion Natatorium will serve as a fitting tribute and a legacy to his influence and impact on our program.”

SMU men’s swimming coach Eddie Sinnott said McMillion’s relationships spread far and wide.

“Coach Mac was a fixture on the SMU campus for over six decades, as a student, athlete, teacher, coach administrator and alum,” Sinnott said. “He impacted literally thousands of lives, both young and old, throughout his time on the Hilltop.”

As a student, McMillion was captain of the 1954 SMU team, winning seven Southwest Conference individual championships. McMillion also helped the Mustangs to team championships in 1953 and 1954. He returned to SMU to become an assistant coach for 14 years, then succeeded Coach A.R. Barr in 1971. That same year, McMillion was honored as the Collegiate and Scholastic Swimming Trophy recipient, which is presented annually to an individual or organization which, in the estimation of the recipient’s peers, has contributed in an outstanding way to swimming as a competitive sport and healthful recreational activity.

McMillion led the program to eight consecutive Southwest Conference Championships and was named SWC Coach of the Year four times. He coached 78 All-Americans and 15 NCAA Champions, while his teams earned 14 NCAA top-10 finishes.

“Coach Mac was a big influence on my life and coaching career,” said head women’s swimming coach Steve Collins. “I came to SMU in the fall of 1977 to work as a graduate assistant with the SMU men’s team to learn from George McMillion. During the course of my career, Coach Mac was a mentor and a friend whom I will miss dearly.”

On the international level, McMillion mentored 10 Olympians, including five Olympic medalists – Steve Lundquist, Ricardo Prado, Rich Saeger, Jerry Heidenreich and Ronnie Mills. His Mustang swimmers earned a combined six gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

McMillion was inducted into the SMU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011, the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame in 2014 and the Texas Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame in 2009.

The Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium honors SMU swimming and diving’s tradition of excellence.

“Our dream of building an Aquatics Center has been realized, and I am so grateful that he was able to see the finished product shortly before his death,” Collins added. “His legacy will live on and be honored in the Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center and Barr-McMillion Natatorium, and through the lives of the many people touched as a teacher, swim coach and friend. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the McMillion family.”

Memorial gifts may be made to The Coach George McMillion Men’s Swimming Endowment Fund at SMU, online at www.smu.edu/giving or by mail to SMU Gift Administration; PO Box 402; Dallas, TX  75275-0402.

“From the Learn to Swim Program to the Olympic gold medal, he helped young men and women reach their goals, while helping them develop into the people they ultimately became. His legacy will forever be remembered in the hearts of those he touched. He has run his race, and he has won,” Sinnott concluded.

Reunions, celebrations and a Mustang Band centennial at SMU’s “Homecoming of Heroes,” Nov. 2-5, 2017

The entire SMU community is invited home to the Hilltop for a “Homecoming of Heroes.” Homecoming 2017 takes place Nov. 2-5, and this year it includes a special centennial celebration for the Mustang Band, founded in 1917.

> SMU News: Mustang Band celebrating 100 years of spirit

Hosted and organized by the SMU Student Foundation, the festivities include the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Awards, the traiditional Homecoming Parade, and reunions for the classes of 1972, ’77, ’82, ’87, ’92, ’97, ’02, ’07 and ’12, as well as Mustang Mini-Reunions for student groups.

The SMU Staff Association invites all staff members to march with them in the Homecoming Parade at noon Saturday, Nov. 4. To participate, register with SMUSA and arrive by 2:45 p.m. at Mustang Plaza and Mall near Moody Coliseum. Family members are welcome, and the first 50 staff members to sign up will receive free T-shirts.

> Register to walk with the Staff Association during the SMU Homecoming Parade

SMU Homecoming of Heroes 2017This year’s parade celebrates SMU veterans from every generation and features the U.S. Military Veterans of SMU as grand marshals. NBC 5 anchor Katy Blakey ’06 will serve as parade announcer.

> Find a guide to Homecoming events at the Student Foundation homepage

Traditional activities also include the Mustang Band’s Pigskin Revue and tailgating on The Boulevard and Mustang Alley, followed by the Mustang football game against the nationally ranked UCF Knights at 6:15 p.m. in Ford Stadium.

> More info on the SMU-UCF Homecoming game at Gameday Central: smumustangs.com/gameday

Hurricane Harvey: How to help and where to seek support at SMU

A letter to the SMU community offers a comprehensive list of ways to help, and places to seek support, as Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath unfold on the Texas Gulf Coast.

President R. Gerald Turner shared this message with University faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017:

Dear SMU community,

We have watched with alarm and sadness since Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas Gulf Coast on Friday, leaving widespread suffering, loss and destruction in its wake.

Our deepest sympathy goes to all who are feeling the impact of this disaster, including those in our SMU community who have loved ones, homes and other connections in the affected regions.

If you need support

Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life Joanne Vogel sent a message yesterday regarding campus resources that support students, including confidential counselors at SMU Counseling Services (214-768-2277) and the Chaplain’s Office (214-768-4502). Through SMU’s Caring Community Connections (CCC) program, faculty, staff, students and family members can submit concerns about students’ well-being in order to connect them with help. The CCC form is online.

For faculty and staff members, SMU’s Employee Assistance Program (1-877-704-5696) provides confidential counseling and referral services, including for dependents.

If you would like to help

SMU has reached out to Rice University and the University of Houston to offer assistance. In addition, many in our SMU community are offering prayers, support and donations to those who have been affected. I believe our community will continue to find ways to help as needs evolve in Dallas and across the state.

Among these efforts, the SMU Student Senate is raising funds for disaster relief, with the goal of providing a significant donation to the relief effort from the SMU community. The students’ “Help 4 Houston” effort will last for four days – from August 29 to September 2, 2017. Donations to the SMU Student Disaster Relief Fund may be made at smu.edu/helpforhouston.

In the days and weeks ahead, SMU’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) will continue to monitor this unprecedented disaster, as well as state and local relief efforts and needs. If faculty or staff members receive assistance requests from departments or programs at other colleges or universities, we ask that you notify the EOC, which is tracking SMU’s efforts. Please email the Office of Risk Management.

The SMU community stands with our Gulf Coast neighbors, students, alumni, colleagues and loved ones. We will continue to send our prayers and support.

Sincerely,

R. Gerald Turner
President

> Make a gift to the SMU Student Senate’s “Help 4 Houston” disaster-relief effort: smu.edu/helpforhouston

SMU Athletics is offering free tickets and concessions for the Sept. 2 SMU-Stephen F. Austin game to Texans displaced by the hurricane. Find additional details at SMUMustangs.com.

SMU Football salutes soldiers, veterans in 2017 home opener Saturday, Sept. 2

Camo PerunaSMU will offer a tribute to all active military members and veterans at the 2017 football home opener versus Stephen F. Austin on Saturday, Sept. 2.

With the assistance of the George W. Bush Institute, “Salute To Our Heroes” is designed to “bring awareness to the issues that veterans face while in transition to civilian life,” according to a statement from SMU Athletics. With the help of on-campus veterans group SMU MilVets, the Athletics Department will honor SMU student veterans throughout the game.

In 2017, for the first time, fans can purchase and donate a seven-game season ticket for $99 through the Seats For Soldiers program. SMU Athletics will match your gift, donating a second set of season tickets to support and honor current military members, retired military personnel, and veterans. All Seats For Soldiers tickets purchased will be provided to active-duty and military veterans and their dependents throughout the 2017 season.

In addition, fans can enjoy a free pregame concert in Doak Walker Plaza starting at 4:30 p.m. featuring Texas country artist Zach Coffey. Coffey’s first single, “I Love You Anyway,” reached No. 8 on the Texas music chart, and he has opened for artists such as Pat Green, Casey Donahew and Jason Boland, among others.

Pregame activities will include a color guard for the presentation of arms, while halftime entertainment will include a tribute performance by the SMU Mustang Band.

The first 5,000 fans to enter Ford Stadium will receive “Salute To Our Heroes” branded thunder sticks.

Take part in the Seats For Soldiers program at this Ticketmaster link, or call the SMU Athletics Ticket Office at 214-SMU-GAME (768-4263).

By | 2017-08-24T14:42:54+00:00 August 24, 2017|Categories: News|Tags: , , , , , |

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

Tune In: SMU Founders’ Day Weekend 2017 in photos

From Perunapalooza to Pony Preview, from Meadows Museum Family Day to the Luck of the Loydians Residential Commons celebration, and from the Red-Blue Scrimmage to Mustang Fan Fair, SMU Founders’ Day Weekend was packed with activities for the entire community. Take a look back with these photos by Kim Leeson and Guy Rogers III.

SMU celebrates 2017 Founders’ Day Weekend April 6-9

Athletics Football Spring GameSMU celebrates 2017 Founders’ Day Weekend April 6-9 with a full slate of public activities for alumni, students, friends and the entire community.

All are invited to join the annual celebration of the University’s founding in 1915 at these events:

  • Meadows Museum Family Day, with free arts and craft activities for adults and children featuring the drawings of Spanish artist Jusepe de Ribera
  • The free Mustang Spring Football Game, featuring an SMU intra-squad scrimmage and players and coaches on hand for photos and autographs on the field after the game
  • Mustang Fan Fair, with inflatables, food trucks, photos with Peruna, and the opportunity to play new, award-winning games from the SMU Guildhall with their student designers
  • Performances of the Meadows School of the Arts’ Spring Dance Concert, featuring the Paul Taylor masterpiece Mercuric Tidings

In addition, the George W. Bush Presidential Center will offer guided bluebonnet tours of the Native Texas Park on the grounds of the center.

> Find detailed information on all Founders’ Day Weekend activities at smu.edu/FoundersDay

 

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

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

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