ARTICLE OF THE DAY

There's No Coming Like a Homecoming!
by Brian North
10/19/06

It's homecoming weekend; a time for ECU alumni to return to Greenville and relive the glory days of their undergrad years, and then pay for it for several days. Thousands will flood the tailgating fields, and a few will even make it into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium to watch the game. Those that can't put down the cold beverage and fried food of choice will miss a visit by one of the most storied football programs in NCAA history.

Here are some interesting tidbits about the Southern Methodist University Mustangs: 

*The private university was founded in 1911 and currently has 11,000 students.

*The Mustangs have three national championships (1935, 1981 & 1982), 11 conference championships and 11 bowl appearances, but are also the only school to have their football program suffer the death penalty in 1987 and have been rebuilding ever since.

*SMU has the second highest graduation rate among athletes in Conference USA (89%, just behind Rice's 93% success).

*SMU's great football players read like a who's who of gridiron greatness: Heisman Trophy winner Doak Walker, All-American running backs and hall of famers Kyle Rote, Eric Dickerson, Reggie Dupard, two time All-American QB Don Meredith, wide receiver Raymond Berry, and offensive lineman Forrest Gregg.

*First Lady Laura Bush attended college at the Dallas, Tx. school. Other prominent SMU alumni are actress Kathy Bates and the late great golfer Payne Stewart.

*The Ford Mustang sports car is named after the SMU mascot. According the the school's media guide, then Ford president Lee Iacocca watched SMU play at Michigan in 1963. The Mustangs lost the game 27-16, but Iacocca was impressed with the fight of the undersized SMU team and went in their locker room told the team "After watching the SMU Mustangs play with such flair, we reached a decision. We will call our new car the Mustang because it will be light, like your team. It will be quick like your team. And it will be sporty like your team."

Enjoy the homecoming festivities this weekend, and maybe a prominent car man will catch the Pirates in action and name his next car the "Ford Pirate".
 
Brian North
bnorth@wcti12.com