Hot Links: Special-teams coach Frank Gansz dies at age 70

Frank GanszSMU Assistant Coach Frank Gansz passed away on April 27, 2009. He was 70. Considered perhaps the top special-teams coach in NFL history, he was starting his second season on the Hilltop.

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my good friend,” said SMU Head Coach June Jones. “Frank has been a second father to me for the past 30 years and he has touched the lives of many, both at SMU and throughout the National Football League. I was lucky to have known Frank, and not only was he a wonderful person, but he was a father to everyone he has ever coached. He will live on with us.”

Gansz was a veteran of 38 seasons of coaching, 24 in the NFL and 14 in the collegiate ranks. “He was the guru of special teams,” former Kansas City Chiefs Vice President Lynn Stiles told the Kansas City Star. Gansz coached for the Chiefs throughout the 1980s and was special-teams coach for the St. Louis Rams during their Super Bowl-winning season in 1999. Read more.

Lauren Longbotham MeisnerThe No. 23 women’s tennis team will face No. 38 Texas A&M in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Championships at 11 a.m. May 9 at the Baylor Tennis Center in Waco. The Mustangs received an automatic bid for winning the Conference USA title. Head Coach Lauren Longbotham-Meisner (left) was named Conference USA Coach of the Year after leading SMU to its best season in program history First-year player Marta Lesniak was named Freshman of the Year and C-USA Singles Player of the Championship, as well as Outstanding Doubles Team of the Championship with freshman partner Aleksandra Malyarchikova. Read more.

Men’s golf team members Kelly Kraft and James Kwon have been selected as All-Conference USA performers for the 2008-09 season. Kraft was named to the first team for the second consecutive year, while Kwon was selected for the second team and the All-Freshman squad. The awards were voted on by the league’s 11 head coaches. Read more.

SMU punter Thomas MorsteadSenior punter Thomas Morstead (right) was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the 5th round of the 2009 NFL Draft April 26. Morstead becomes SMU’s first NFL draft pick since 2007, when Justin Rogers, now with the Dallas Cowboys, was chosen by the New England Patriots. As the 164th overall selection, Morstead is SMU’s highest draft pick since the Saints took SMU linebacker Chris Bordano 161st overall in 1998. Read more.

Hot Links: Rogers makes Dallas Cowboys’ 2007 roster

Former SMU defensive end Justin Rogers (’07) has made the Dallas Cowboys’ 2007 roster. Rogers spent the summer training with the New England Patriots. Read more.

In addition, the 1982 national championship team will be honored in a halftime ceremony at the SMU-UNT game in Ford Stadium Sept. 8. Among those expected to attend are running back Eric Dickerson and quarterback Lance McIlhenny. Read more.

Mustang volleyball players Stefanie Kons and Natalie Peters were named Conference USA Players of the Week Sept. 4. The team has enjoyed the strongest start in its history, winning five of its first six games of the 2007-08 season and currently ranked No. 8 nationally in the RKPI rankings, which simulates the ranking system used by the NCAA to choose teams for the national tournament. Read more.

The men’s basketball team has announced its 2007-08 schedule, which includes a team-record 18 home games in Moody Coliseum. The season opens Nov. 10-11 with the SMU Tip-Off Classic. Meanwhile, the 1972 Southwest Conference championship team will be honored in a ceremony at the SMU-UNT football game in Ford Stadium Sept. 8. Read more.