History of  SMU          


This page discusses the detailed history of Athletics at Southern Methodist University



" S. M. U. joined the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association at the beginning of school in 1915. This Association permitted freshman to play, but prohibited transfers from playing until after one year's residence. Of course under these rules only freshman could play. The struggle of the first two years was well told in the Dallas Time Herald of November 3, 1933, by William "Buddy" King, one of the immortal Ten" of the 1923 football team. His story is as follows.

"" Few football fans-- though, perhaps, boosters of the Red and Blue Mustangs of the present day-- realize the hardships that the Ponies were forced to go through before they won recognition as one of the leading football teams of the South--for there can be no question about the present day team being one of the foremost football machines in this section of the country.

The story of football at Southern Methodist University dates back to the struggle of the little squad in 1915.; it received a 43-0 trouncing at Fort Worth at the hands of T.C.U. in its first effort, then rallied and surprised the football fans in general by defeating Hendrix College 13-2 in the second game.

 That 13-2 victory meant almost as much to the club that year as the victories that the Mustangs achieved over the famous Texas Aggies during the past two seasons.""

The setback came in the first year. The old men will tell you of the best starts who entered school the first year to help place S. M. U. on the map and then a University's grave mistake of joi8ning the T. I. A. A.. , there being no Southwestern Conference then. As a result of joining the T. I. A. A. all of the starts who were transfers, were ruled ineligible. The whole schedule that year had to borne by the few freshman recruits who not only had to made to go out for the team, but a great number of whom had to be shown what football was. The coaching task fell upon Ray Morrison, who success so far this season has shown that the disasters of earlier years can be charged to the lack of material and equipment. ----------------------------------------------------------------- After the failure to win football games the second year 1916, President R. S. Hyer and Dean John H. Keen decided that a new coach must be secured. Their choice fell upon Mr. Burton Rix who was at that time athletic director and coach at Southwestern University. Mr. Rix reported the spring of 1917, and that spring held the first high school and academy meet to be held by S. M. U.

Mr. Morrison left that year and spent one year in the Army Y. M. C. A. at Chickamauga Park in Georgia. From there he went to Vanderbilt University as assistant Y. M. C. A. and head coach of football, basketball, and baseball. The next year he taught and coached at Gulf Coast Military Academy, Gulf coast, Mississippi, and the next fall, 1920, returned to S. M. M. as freshman football coach, varsity baseball coach, intramural director, physical director and mathematics instructors.

Mr. Rix remained as director and head coach until the middle of the season in 1921. The schedule of 1917 did not include Texas, Texas a. & M. or Rice, and a better showing was made.----------------------- unquote: After Mr. Rix left his assistants carried on, but they were not successful.

Beginning in 1922 Ray Morrison was elevated from coaching freshman to varsity coach and got a Vanderbilt classmate, E. Y. Freeland, to help. This was the first year of the "Immortal Ten"  as the following men were called because of their brilliant record for three years as varsity players and one year on the freshman team. They are: Logan Stollenwerck, Lawrence Reisor, Ornett Pearson, Hubert Walling, Eugene Bedford, Collis Irby, Russell McIntosh, William King, Lake Morrison and Sid Henry. (Henry played only three years.) This year saw S. M. U. finish third in the conference with their first win over A. & M.-- the first game A. M. ever lost on Kyle field.---------------------------------------------------------------------

In 1923 S. M. U. won its first football championship, having no losses, only nine points were scored against the team in a nine game schedule. In 1924 the team was undefeated again, but this time made a record by tying four games. It was in this season that S. M. M. won its first varsity game from Texas University, and not since that year has Texas been able to win a football game from the Mustangs. This was the last year of the "Immortal ten."---------------------------------------------

unquote: S. M. U. in 1926 journeyed to West Point and lost in a close score 13 to 14 after playing Army off its feet.

unquote: Redman Hume, the greatest ball carrier in S. M. U. history was not recovered sufficiently from injuries suffered earlier to be of much service in the last game of the season against T. C. U. which T. C. U. won 15 to 6. --------------------------------

The season of 1929 goes down as another undefeated season for the Mustangs and a second place finish in the conference standings-------

In spite of the heavy scores against S. M. U. in her infancy, the total score to the end of the 1929 season stands 1996 for and only 1348 against the Mustangs."


** " The following historical sketch published in the Dallas Times Herald of December 23, 1923, was written by R. L. Johnson, then a student of Journalism at Southern Methodist University, and is a record of victories in football this season has left the athletic fans in a state of high anticipation as the outcome of the approaching basketball season. The Methodist's first basket ball team dates back to 1917, when it won the T. I. A. A. championship, losing only two of fourteen games played -- one to Oklahoma State University and one to Simmons college. This team was captained by Marvin D. HIlburn, a brilliant player at forward, and coached by Dale Morrison of Vanderbilt, brother of Ray Morrison, present football coach."

The basketball fever first found its way into Southern Methodist University in 1916 in the form of inter-class basketball, the freshman, with Earl "Pop" Edmonson and Leon Cooper as stars, defeating all other classes. The following year men were chosen from all classes to make a Varsity quintet, Those who made the team successfully were Marvin D. Hilburn, forward; Alvn McKnight, center; "Pop" Edmondson, standing guard; Leon Cooper, running guard; and Gervais Strong, forward.  McKnight later a four letter man. The substitutes for the first Varsity game were: Joe Moore, forward; and Virgil (Lefty) Ford.

The present supporters of S. M. U. basketball team perhaps do not realize the difficult conditions under which men participated in the first few years. In those days there was no smooth floor to play on, the court was enclosed only by atmosphere, and its roof was the sky, while the dressing rooms of the players were their own rooms in the dormitory."

unquote: The Mustangs had five different coaches through 1929. These were: Dale Morrison, Coach Rix, Dr. Blackwell, Coach Faulkner,  and Mr. J. W. St. Clair. The teams were only partially successful. In 1926 Mr. St. Clair's team came in second in the conference. He also came in second in 1927 and 1928, but dropped to third in 1929.


** " It has been very difficult to arouse interest in baseball either among the students or public. The main reason for this is perhaps because there is a class A baseball team in the city. So with the exception of one or two seasons, the history of baseball at S. M. U. consists mainly of rather low standing in the conference and the changing of coaches. The first team was coached by Ray Morrison in 1916 and started off suspiciously by winning the first game from North Texas State Teachers College 6 to 0, and the second one from Dallas University 2 to 0. S. M. U. also won from T. C. U. , Simmons, Daniel Baker, and again from Dallas University, making twelve starts and winning six of them."

Unquote: They had several coaches during this time. They were: Ray Morrison, Dale Morrison, Mr. B. Houge, Ray Morrison again, E. Y. Freeland, Ray Morrison again, , J. W. St. Clair, and Gerald Mann.

The only team that had any success was that of E. Y. Freeland in 1923 when his team had a winning percentage of.636 and came in second in the conference. Unfortunately his second and last team slipped back to .357.


** " There was a dirt track the first year of the University. Ray Morrison was coach and ten men were awarded letters including: Manager Wiley, J. C. Harper, L. M. Hester, Roscoe Haley, Sam Hilburn, and Roy Parks.

In 1917 the team disbanded because of the War before any meets could be held. In 1918 the team wan fourth place in the conference under J. Burton Rix. Mr. Rix was also coach for the next three years,. The team won third place in the conference in 1919, and sixth place in 1920 and 1921. In 1922, with Dr. R. N. Blackwell as coach, they won sixth place again. In 1923 and 1924 Ray Morrison served as coach. In 1925 E. Y. Freeland and Les Brooks were coaches. In 1926 and 1927 Lee Brooks and Jimmie Stewart were track mentors; in 1928 Jimmie Stewart coached without an assistant, and remained during 1929 when he was assissted by W. Hooper.

In 1922 John Crow won first place in the high jump at the Conference meet at Fayetteville, Arkansas. In 1923 Major Garrett won the Conference 440-yard dash and participated in the National Meet.

In 1925 Winston Hooper broke the Conference record for the one mile run. His time was 4 minutes 23.9 seconds. In 1927 he broke his own record by making the mile in 4 minutes 21.8 seconds. This record still stands, The same year Max Brown set a new record 220-yard hurdle by running them in 23.7 seconds. This record he lowered in 1928 and his record of 23.5 seconds still stands.

In 1927 and 1928 S. M U. won fourth place in the conference. They won fifth place in 1929.

 In 1928 F. W. Herman took first place in the javelin throw at the Texas relays with a hurl of 193 feet, and second place at the Rice relays. In 1929 he took second place in the Texas relays with a 191-foot throw. The same year Marion Hammon placed second  in the National Collegiate A. A. meet in Chicago, with 203 feet.

In the Texas relays of 1928 the following four won second place in the two mile relay: Herman Crowell, Horace, Session, Collin Dingwell, and W. A. Biggs. This same team again came in second the next day in the Rice relays. On the same day the following four won fourth at Texas and fifth at Rice in the mile relay. Paul Crum, Collin Dingwell, W. A. Biggs, Herbert Crowell.

Rice dropped the relays at Houston and S. M. U. held relay games in 1929 and will continue to do so on the last Saturday of  March each year. In the S. M. U. relays of 1929 eighty five-schools were represented by more than nine hundred contestants. "

Cross Country

" In the winter of 1917 an inter-class cross country run was held. The course extended over the field north of the University and ended on the campus.

The first intercollegiate cross country meet entered by S. M. U. was in late 1926. Lee Brooks was coach and Winston Hooper was the only man to letter. The requirement to enter to win a letter is that a man must finish in the first on-third of all participants in the conference cross country meet in the fall.

In 1927 Lee Brooks again coached the cross country and Horace Sessions and Collin Dingwol lettered.

In 1928 Winston Hooper coached and B. Murphy and Herbert Crowell lettered.

In 1920 John Donhoe had charge of the team and Sam L. Fly,  G. C. Pfeiffer, W. B. Hobson and J. E. Persons lettered. "


" During the early years of the university work in tennis was seriously handicapped on account of lack of good courts. The first courts built on the campus were built in front of Atkins Hall and were meant for the of the women students. Shortly afterward three courts were constructed south of the men's dormitories, (destroyed by fire in 1926) but ground was not graded, the courts were covered with gravel instead of clay and the playing service was never satisfactory. Later these three courts were improved and three others built directly south of them. The last addition to the playing facilities was the construction of the concrete court immediately north of the gymnasium.

An interest in tennis was manifested early. In the first year of the university a large number of students engaged in intramural tournaments. Later many meets were staged between students and faculty with the faculty being the usual winner.

The first inter-collegiate tennis was played in 1917 when S. M. U. was represented by Julian Thomas, George Thomas, Marvin Hilburn, and John Whitehurst. These men were defeated by T. C. U. four matches to one in Fort Worth.

unquote: S. M. U. continued to compete in tennis from 1917 thru 1930 and beyond.

" The Conference championship was won in 1927 by a team composed of: John Burr, captain, Cooper Burgess, Dennis Estep, Gerald Huff and Jake Lynn. Never before or since in the history of the university have the Mustangs had such a powerful team."  -------------" Dr. J. G. McIntosh has been the coach of the Mustangs tennis team since its beginning."

Intramural Athletics

" The first intramural sport event at Southern Methodist University was cross-country run in the spring of 1917, in which there were some thirty five competitors in a five mile race. Willie Veals finished first.

An intramural track meet has been held every spring beginning in 1919." ---------

" Intramural basketball was introduced in 1921. The original league was composed of a team from each undergraduate class and one from the graduate class. In that year the graduate team won the championship by defeating the Freshman team in the championship series."--------

" Intramural football was first played in the fall of 1921, teams from the various fraternities competing. Inter-class football also started then."-----

"Since 1925 three leagues have competed in the following sports: Basketball, playground baseball, tennis, golf, swimming and tag football."

unquote: The three leagues are: Class league, Fraternity league, and Independent league. The Independent league includes Dormitories, Freshman Engineers, the Engineers, the Theology School, the Y. M. C. A., the Law School, and the School of Commerce.


" The unoccupied area of the campus early invited the attention of golf enthusiasts in the faculty but, the weeds and Johnson grass long prevented its use as a golf course."--------

" In 1920-1921 some of the faculty members got together and organized " The Hillcrest Club," whose club grounds would be the unversity grounds, or most of it. The annual dues were set at $12.00. With the that flowed, perhaps trickled, ito the treasury the club bought a grass cutting machine and two mules to pull it, and hired a man to operate it. In this way the Johnson grass was cut asnd the campus transformed into a tolerable golf course of nine holes. Some of the grass was baled and sold and the proceeds devoted to cutting more grass--for the Johnson grass is persistent.

unquote: The use of the course expanded from the use by the faculty only to the use by students and other amateur golfers from University Park,, Highland Park and Dallas.

" Prof. John H. McGinnis is generally credited with leadership in the move to organize the club"-------

unquote: The assets of the club were transferred to the University in 1`924-25.

unquote: The club's demise came in 1923 due to the beginning of the building campaign on the campus,  and the rapid attainment of efficiency by the players who had improved so much that they needed a  sixteen hole course.


unquote: The walking club was formed by faculty members to enjoy each others company during a walk. Because better facilities were finally provided, such as tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a golf course, the need for the walking club vanished. It served a good purpose, however, by helping the faculty to form and cement friendships that are eternal. It also served as an embryonic university club which club has now been formed and become very successful. All of this served the faculty better in some ways than classes.


During the acting term of President James Kilgore October 11, 1922 and April 1, 1923, the Board at SMU tried to exercise power that belonged to the president of the university. The dispute arose over the control of athletics at the school. The layman on the board felt that the university should be run by businessman of Dallas and the faculty and president disagreed. Southern Methodist did not have a winning football team in its early years, but as time went on the businessmen of Dallas began asking strongly for a team that would at least have respectability. President Boaz made the following statement regarding this issue:

"Since the University was on a sound financial basis and the spiritual atmosphere on the campus had been greatly improved, and since the faculty was doing most excellent work in the classroom it seemed to me that we ought to lay some emphasis on securing a winning football team.... Ray Morrison was secured as head coach. His task was to assemble and train a winning team if that could possibly be done. Our vice president, Dr. H. M. Whaling, was to assist him in any way he could. In keeping with the practice of other universities, scouts were looking for good players and the usual inducements offered them in order to have them registered in S. M. U."

President Boaz was the president of the University just prior to acting President James Kilgore. President Boaz  was the second president of the school.

A freshman team was assembled for the 1922 season. The team was very successful, and set a record which made obvious that SMU would have a very competitive team in the Southwestern Conference the next year.

The faculty and students criticized this new policy in the spring of 1922. The faculty did not think it was proper to spend so much money to build a football team when there was little money to run the academic program. The students agreed.

Other colleges and universities were doing the same thing as SMU with regard to subsidizing players. The Southwestern Conference, however, was not in favor of this, and in May 1922 passed a series of rules prohibiting schools from offering financial incentives to athletes.

The SMU team of 1922 won five games out of nine while the team the year before had lost five out of six games. The use of incentives definitely produced better teams, but everything backfired on SMU when the Southwestern Conference made its new rules.  The Southwestern Conference proposed a resolution that SMU be suspended because the faculty was not in control and some of the athletes were ineligible. Coach Ray Morrison denied the charges were true, and the vice president H. M. Whaling maintained the shortcomings had been corrected. The resolution failed to pass 3 to 4. The vote saving the university was by its own representative, J. S. McIntosh a member of the faculty, and also president of the Southwestern Conference.

This was not even close to the end of the controversy, however.  The Southwestern Conference made it clear that they held SMU still under suspicion that the faculty still not control athletics and would remain so until its faculty had made a through investigation of the matter.  After the investigation was complete, the athletic committee concluded that "certain officials of the University have adopted a definite policy of favoritism toward athletes." The full faculty upheld this decision by a vote of forty four to twenty one.

Shuttles a businessman and member of  the executive committee of the board was enraged when heard  the results of the vote and resigned with this statement.

" Believing SMU should be run and officered by business men while the faculty of the university believed the affairs of the school should be handled by churchmen and the faculty, I was forced to tender my resignation some two weeks ago."

His resignation was not accepted and he remained on the board. Bishop Mouzon objected when Shuttles wanted to run the school as he did his wholesale jewelry business.

The bishop wrote a letter to then President Selecman of SMU stating:

"It is to hoped that you will save the university from the complete dominance of a group of layman who have sought to take over the entire control of the institution. If the president and faculty are not to manage the internal affairs of the university, the church will soon make itself heard from."

After many more disagreeable statements and writings of the men and students on both sides of the argument, the board passed a resolution  to close the whole affair. It declared that it had faith in the athletic committee, the faculty, and the executive committee in handling of the  athletic problem , and that the whole matter was considered closed. It also stated that in the future that compliance to the Southwestern Conference rules be established. They also stated that the rapid growth of the university had resulted in the problems, and that athletics were believed be an honorable activity. Despite this resolution, there were still bitter feelings on both parts.

Click on the Web Site below to see discussion of SMU's only basketball team to make it to the final four NCAA playoffs.





** The Story of Southern Methodist University 1910 to 1930 Volumes One and Two, compiled by A. F. Henning, March 1930.

*** Southern Methodist University, Founding and Early Years by Mary Martha Hosford Thomas. SMU Press, Dallas published 1974.


















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