Jan. 15, 2006
DALLAS (SMU) - SMU Head Football Coach Phil Bennett has been awarded a contract extension, Athletic Director Jim Copeland announced today. Bennett, who had three years remaining under his current agreement, is now under contract to the university through the 2009 season.
"Our goal is to win championships at SMU," said Copeland. "Our strong finish to the 2005 season only strengthened my belief that Phil Bennett is the man who will lead us to Conference USA titles and bowl games in the years to come."
Bennett led SMU to its most wins in eight seasons in 2005 and has Mustang fans as excited about the football program as they have been in decades. The season was full of highlights like SMU's first win over a ranked team since 1986, a 3-1 record against Bowl teams, and a three-game win streak to end the season - SMU's longest since 1999. Seven Mustangs were named All-Conference USA and two were tabbed freshman All-Americans as national media outlets have taken notice of SMU. ESPN, CBSSportline, CSTV and FoxSports all sang the praises of SMU and Bennett in 2005.
SMU is approaching its "highest point (in) two decades," says CollegeFootballNews.com. The Mustangs "proved this year that they can compete with anyone in their new conference," the article continued. "And unlike his first couple of years in Big D, a whole different caliber of recruit may now be willing to hear (Coach Bennett's) pitch."
The last note is especially exciting to Mustang fans since Bennett has hauled in SMU's best recruiting classes in years since his arrival with each crop of signees being considered among the best in the conference. His work has earned him "Top Recruiter" honors in the league from various publications since his arrival at SMU.
"I have said from the beginning that we will win championships at SMU and that I'm in this for the long haul," said Bennett. "I do want to thank the administration for their vote of confidence in what we're doing as a football program. I also want to let them and our fans know that we are not satisfied yet and that we will turn this program into a consistent winner."