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- April 19, 2013

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April 19, 2013

Although we don't have many home athletics events remaining in this academic year, it is a very busy time here in Athletics - and on the Hilltop in general!

Today is Founder's Day at SMU. There are many activities this weekend to celebrate our rich heritage, including a Welcome Ceremony for the Bush Presidential Center, President Turner's Briefing and the Mustang Fan Fair. A full schedule of events can be found here.

Administratively, this is among the most important and productive times of the year. We are busy planning for the year(s) ahead and collaborating to provide our student-athletes, coaches and supporters with the best possible experience.

As you may be aware, we have developed a Strategic Plan for Mustang Athletics titled, "The SMU Advantage." We are currently in the process of installing our plan - clearly defining roles and expectations, introducing accountability and reporting systems, and establishing a culture and a mindset aligned with the Centennial Plan for SMU.

The framework for The SMU Advantage consists of our vision, mission, values and goals. You should expect regular updates on our progress towards advancing our program in support of the University's rise to national distinction.

One important element of our success is communication. We want to let the community know what is happening with our department; and seek feedback and a variety of perspectives to help us get better.

In this spirit, I will answer some of the questions we received from Mustang Nation:

Tom (Dripping Springs, Texas): Do you see baseball returning to SMU anytime soon?

Answer: Unfortunately, no. While I miss college baseball, our immediate focus is to provide our existing 17 sports the opportunity to consistently compete at the highest level, and our 400 student-athletes with the best possible experience.

Keith (Via E-Mail): During the Mustang Mania days, ticket giveaways were frequently used to draw fans and build the fan base. What are your plans to introduce the SMU football product to a wider audience?

Answer: Establishing a winning program is the most effective way to broaden our fan base; and Coach Jones and his staff have done a great job in returning SMU Football to relevance. I expect this trend to continue in the future.

That said, we must expand and strengthen relationships throughout the Metroplex to build upon last season's record ticket sales and fan support. We are reallocating resources to invest in an internal marketing, promotions and event management staff responsible for developing, executing and evaluating strategies aimed at increasing attendance and enhancing the game day atmosphere. The fan experience must be convenient, safe and entertaining. Our ticket prices and packages will offer affordable options, but we will be very careful not to flood the marketplace with heavily-discounted tickets. This strategy only drives down value and alienates loyal patrons.

Horse Heads


Tom (San Francisco, Calif.): I have been an SMU supporter for several decades. What is missing is fan enthusiasm. The SMU Fan is high-brow and intelligent. You need to appeal to that. I think you should recruit 25/50 fans, make them paint their bodies, run around and act likes horses. You could even set up a stable area and let them run out, when SMU scores. These guys or gals can wear their frat shirts, fat man suits, overalls for the Texas A&M game. Just people being idiots with a horse head on.

Answer: Now that's a strong look! Giddy Up!

If you have a question or concern, contact me through this form, or email us at smumustangs@smu.edu. You can also reach me on Twitter at @AD_RickHart.

Thanks to all and Pony Up!

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MISSION OF SMU ATHLETICS
In alignment with the educational mission of the University, we engage the community in meaningful ways and develop the resources necessary to graduate Student-Leaders and pursue championships. Above all else, we prepare Students for life.