After going through the darkest time in SMU history, the Mustangs sought a leader who could start from scratch. The University knew that it needed a true Mustang, someone who understood what it meant to be a Mustang. In 1988, SMU welcomed back one of its former football greats to lead the resurrection of the Mustang football program. Forrest Gregg accepted what he called "the ultimate challenge" when he was named SMU's head coach on January 14, 1988. Forrest Gregg's return to the Hilltop takes its place as one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.
Forrest Gregg is one of the most heralded players to ever come out of SMU. He was a two-time All-SWC selection in 1954 and 1955. He proved his toughness by suiting up as a two-way player at both offensive and defensive tackle from 1952-55. After leaving SMU, he went on to play 15 seasons in the NFL, winning two Super Bowl rings with the Green Bay Packers in 1967 and 1968, and a third with the Cowboys in 1971. He was selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977. Vince Lombardi in his book "Run to Daylight," stated simply: "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!"
Following his player career, Gregg served as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and Green Bay Packers. In 1981, Gregg was named AFC Coach of the Year and led the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI.
Forrest Gregg had all the qualities that SMU wanted in a coach. He was hard-working, intelligent, and tough, all things that he wanted to see from his teams. He was given the responsibility of guiding a team that consisted of 74 freshmen, 16 of whom were starters. It really was "the ultimate challenge", and Mustang fans are happy that he took it. Gregg went on to serve as head football coach for the 1989 and 1990 seasons and then as Athletics Director from 1990 to 1994. Forrest Gregg had faith in SMU and for that SMU is forever in his debt. His return to SMU in 1988 takes its place among the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.