The SMU Mustang football team, along with head coach Sonny Dykes, will demonstrate a tougher, more physical defensive game during the 2018 Spring Game on Saturday, April 14. The scrimmage begins at 11 a.m. in Ford Stadium.
Gates will open at 10 a.m. and, along with on-field action, fans will be part of a halftime celebration to mark the start of construction of SMU’s Indoor Performance Center. The Mustang Kids’ Zone will be set up in the south end zone, and fans can pick up 2018 schedule magnets and meet the coaches and players after the game.
Concessions will be available, and Mi Cocina, Bahama Buck’s and Ruthies Rolling Cafe will be on-site. Admission is free, and so is parking in the Moody and Binkley Parking Centers.
The Mustangs open the 2018 season on Sept. 1 at North Texas, before returning to the Hilltop for a Friday night match-up with Metroplex rival TCU on Sept. 7. The Battle for the Iron Skillet will also be SMU’s annual Whiteout Game.
The team will play Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sept. 15 and hosts Houston Baptist on Sept. 29 (Family Weekend) for its final non-conference game.
When the 2018 Civil Rights Pilgrimage leaves SMU on Friday, March 9, it will do so with a new name and a new endowment. The Dennis Simon Endowed Civil Rights Pilgrimage has received a $100,000 endowment gift from New York Jets offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum Jr. ’11, ’12.
Beachum and his wife, Jessica, visited campus to celebrate the gift on Thursday, March 8, 2018. The gift renames the pilgrimage the Dennis Simon Endowed Civil Rights Pilgrimage in honor of the SMU political science professor who led the program from 2008 to 2015. Dr. Simon died in February 2017.
An NFL athlete since 2012, Beachum devotes his off-the-field efforts to providing opportunities for students, particularly for minority youth. Since 2012, Beachum also has supported the pilgrimage that was so meaningful to him by funding scholarships and paying for meals for participants.
“Dr. Simon’s empathy and sympathy for those who went through the civil rights era was palpable,” Beachum said. “His urgency for students to know what happened then and how it has affected our current society always resonated with me.”
Under Simon’s leadership, the trip featured stops at meaningful sites in the civil rights movement, such as Little Rock High School, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala. and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s parsonage in Montgomery, Alabama. History came alive at each spot thanks to Simon’s friendships with original participants he called civil rights “foot soldiers,” who shared their recollections with students.
“We had a chance to meet members of the Little Rock 9, the African American students who integrated Little Rock High School in 1957,” Beachum remembers. “We stepped inside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, which was bombed in 1963 by members of the Ku Klux Klan. We walked over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, site of the 1965 Bloody Sunday march. I literally followed in the footsteps of some very important and impactful agents for change and progress, some of whom gave their life.”
Head Coach Sonny Dykes and the SMU football program announced the addition of 12 student-athletes to the 2018 Mustang class on National Signing Day 2018, Wednesday, Feb. 7. The 12 players join seven previous signees who committed to the program on Early Signing Day, Dec. 20, 2017.
The class includes five junior-college transfers in addition to 14 prep players. Sixteen of the student-athletes hail from Texas. Two come to the Hilltop from Louisiana and one from Washington, D.C.
The Mustangs open 2018 spring practice on Wednesday, March 21, and will host their annual spring scrimmage at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Saturday, April 14.
The 2018 season will be Dykes’ first as SMU head coach. In the home opener, the Mustangs will face the TCU Horned Frogs in the Battle for the Iron Skillet on Friday, Sept. 7. The team will play one other home game in September, a non-conference tilt with the Houston Baptist Huskies on Saturday, Sept. 22.
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.
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.
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.
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.
SMU 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.
The SMU Staff Association invites all staff members to march with them in the Homecoming Parade at noon Saturday, Nov. 5. To participate, wear a red T-shirt and arrive by 11:30 a.m. at the Mustangs statue near Moody Coliseum.
This year’s parade grand marshals are father-daughter Olympians Michael ’83 and Michelle Carter. Michelle won the gold medal in the shot put in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Her father, Michael, won the silver medal in the shot put in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, played football for SMU’s undefeated teams in 1981 and 1982 and was an NCAA track champion. He is also the only player in NFL history to win an Olympic medal and a Super Bowl ring in the same season.