It's been 25 years since SMU last went to a bowl game. Gas prices were under a $1.20. Most current SMU students were not born and June Jones was just breaking into coaching. Today, made the wait almost worth it.
In front of crowd of players, alumni, students, boosters, SMU administration, and the media, SMU athletic director Steve Orsini officially announced that the SMU Mustangs will be headed to the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24.
"We've proven there is life after death," said Orsini. "Having had the opportunity to participate in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in 2005, I can say with confidence that it is truly one of the best postseason experiences in college football. This is a trip of a lifetime and an excellent reward for our student-athletes, coaches and staff. We are excited to represent SMU and Conference USA in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl."
For a program with such a storied past, this will be just the 11th bowl game appearance for the Mustangs. Oddly enough, their last bowl game appearance was in Hawaii, when the Mustangs defeated the Notre Dame Irish.
"We are very excited with the return of June Jones to Hawaii to participate in his fifth Sheraton Hawaii Bowl as a coach," said Sheraton Hawaii Bowl Executive Director David A. K. Matlin. "Spending the Christmas season in Hawaii will be a well deserved reward for the players, coaches and the loyal Mustang fans."
Coach June Jones had made no secrets in the past weeks that Hawaii was the only bowl game he wanted to play in. He expects his return to the Islands to be a major news story, which will help publicize SMU football among recruiting.
We set this bowl as a goal before the season started and I am so happy that our players will be able to have this experience," said Jones. "Reaching our first bowl game in 25 years is special - not only for our current student-athletes, but also for the guys who came before them and our student body, staff and fans. This bowl has special meaning for me personally, as eight years ago, I was part of the original vision ESPN and Sheraton had for Hawaii and the nation. It is exciting to be a part of one of the best bowl experiences in college football."