The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Smells like team spirit

Emily Dunn

Contributing Writer

[email protected]

So I don’t know about you, but standing at a football game in a sundress and cowboy boots in 107 degree heat while a Jimmy Buffet stunt double glares at the scoreboard doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun. It actually sounds kind of awful. And hot. And sweaty. Pretty much downright miserable.

Flash forward to this past Saturday. Watching the Mustangs lose 34-0 in an empty Reliant Stadium was the single most depressing part of my Thanksgiving break, even after one of my brothers ate the last slice of pumpkin pie. So is it any surprise that when given the option to go to an SMU football game, I’d rather not?

Many recommendations have been made by a task force created to improve the athletic program — 79 to be exact. Seventy-nine recommendations, all to improve SMU Athletics and still something obvious has not been said: how about to improve SMU Athletics….we improve SMU Athletics?

A few drinks or free T-shirts or Greek life incentives wouldn’t improve attendance any more than the “free” tickets for students already haven’t. To get people to care enough to go, SMU needs an attitude shift and a change in the story of their athletic program.

A lot of football fans don’t follow football because they inherently love football. The game itself is a weird mishmash of rugby and soccer, with a few arbitrary rules tossed in. The fans are dedicated to the story of their team, the rise and fall of players and coaches, the future careers of athletic glory balanced on the sheer chance of a single game. A beer isn’t going to change that. A lot of beers aren’t going to change that. But a single man might.

If we look to the sidelines of other programs, we can see that Kansas State loved Coach Bill Snyder so much, they brought him back out of retirement and named the entire stadium after him and his family. Urban Meyer has gone from the University of Florida to Ohio State and taken the reputation of 2 national titles with him. Bear Bryant is regarded as more god than man in Tuscaloosa, Ala. and Nick Saban would have been the head of a new kind of University of Alabama football dynasty if not for Saturday’s loss against Auburn.

These are the kinds of men that make you want to watch them coach. These are the kinds of men SMU needs to make the football program even an echo of its former glory.

My hat is off to Garrett Gilbert for doing what he has with the program. However, with his final games as a Mustang approaching, something needs to be done not with the players on the field, but with the men standing on the sideline. After big promises and even bigger contracts, I don’t think it would take a Cox MBA to tell SMU Athletics that they’re getting lousy returns on their investment in our head coach.

Here’s looking at you, June Jones.

In all fairness, Jones’ work while at the University of Hawaii was undeniably impressive. I’m just convinced that he needs a beach view and a tropical climate to produce results that look even vaguely similar. If this is true, SMU’s repeat appearances in the Hawaii Bowl make a lot of sense. However, a bowl appearance is a highly unlikely possibility this year, given that it’s predicated on a win Saturday against conference leader UCF. Also keep in mind that this is the same coach who tried to jump ship to Arizona State last year in a departure that failed like a bad breakup: publicly, awkwardly and miserably. While Jones has begrudgingly been here, the past five seasons of SMU football have looked like a half-hearted, breakeven investment of the talent he obviously possessed at some former point in his career.

However, my largest issue with Jones is not his salary, the programs he’s coached for previously, or even his insistence on wearing Hawaiian shirts to his place of employment – my issue is that when you watch him coach, you feel no enthusiasm, no drive and no fire. If I can feel that vibe infect the game through the pretty new uniforms and the rousing band music, you can be sure everyone else feels it too. It’s a wonder that anybody shows up, much less enough people to fill Ford Stadium.

So with no probable bowl game, a lukewarm season record in a no-name conference, and a painful lack of passion on the sidelines, I have but one question for you, Rick Hart.

Are you buying Jones a ticket back to Honolulu, or should Peruna wait for Santa Claus to bring him a coach that gives a darn?

Dunn is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering.

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