In Honor Of The Mustangs celebrates 100 years of SMU sports history

SMU marks 100 years of athletic achievements with a new book of historic photos and accounts.

1932 Peruna at SMU

By Susan White
SMU Magazine

In Honor of the Mustangs bookcoverAs SMU celebrates the centennial of its founding in 1911 and opening in 1915, the University also is marking 100 years of achievements in athletics through a recently released book, In Honor of the Mustangs.

The first comprehensive history of SMU athletics showcases exploits on the gridiron, from the football team’s infamous defeat 146-3 to the Rice Owls in 1916 to its 45-10 victory over Nevada in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl. Also are highlighted achievements in swimming, basketball, volleyball, track and field, cross country, tennis, baseball, and equestrian competition.

Although almost everyone knows that Doak Walker ’50 was a three-time All American and Heisman Trophy winner, did you know:

  • SMU fielded a soccer team in 1916?
  • A nine-hole golf course was located on campus in the early days?
  • Women competed in tennis and basketball at the time of SMU’s founding?
  • Red Barr, men’s dormitory director who took the job as men’s swimming coach, had to enroll in a Red Cross life saving program to learn the intricacies of the sport?

Such historical tidbits and more are included in the book's 400 pages.

In Honor of the Mustangs, published jointly by the Lettermen’s Association and SMU’s DeGolyer Library, also looks at athletics in the context of the history of SMU and American higher education in general.

The book was written by SMU professor emeritus of communications and SMU centennial historian Darwin Payne ’68. Photo editor Gerry York ’58, curator of SMU’s Heritage Hall,, selected the 650 photographs to illustrate the sports history.

Payne, who received an M.A. in history from SMU and a Ph.D. in American civilization from the University of Texas at Austin in 1973, taught journalism at SMU for 30 years before retiring. He has written extensively about Dallas history and is the author of numerous books, including his most recent, Quest for Justice, a biography of L.A. Bedford Jr. (SMU Press, 2009).

Payne says that although he had known about SMU athletics and been a sports fan all his life,

1932 Peruna
The first Peruna was introduced in 1932.
“I was surprised at the national prominence SMU football teams achieved in the 1920s because of coach Ray Morrison," Payne says. "The teams’ reliance on the forward pass became a national sensation, popularizing it as an offensive weapon, and SMU was perhaps the first Southwest Conference team to schedule significant intersectional games. Although football suffered after the “death penalty,” other SMU sports teams generally thrived, and together they provided the University with one of the best all-round sports programs in the nation for private universities. There were many prominent athletes through the years who largely have been forgotten, and I hope this book will help bring them the attention they deserve.”

The editorial advisory group included Roman Kupchynsky II ’80, president of the Lettermen’s Association; Chuck Hixson ’70, former SMU quarterback and president-elect of the Lettermen’s Association; Paul Rogers, professor of law and faculty athletics representative for SMU since 1987; Joan Gosnell, University archivist; and Russell L. Martin III ’78, director of DeGolyer Library.

To obtain a copy of In Honor of the Mustangs, visit Cost is $55 per book (includes tax and shipping). Make checks payable to “DeGolyer Library, SMU” and note “sports book” on the memo line. Fill out and return the form to DeGolyer Library, SMU, Dallas, TX 75275-0396.

For more information, call Pam Anderson at 214-768-0829. Copies also are sold at Culwell & Son, across Hillcrest from campus, 214-522-7000.

# # #