show

Football

Greatest Moments

Even the greatest football players need the guidance of a coach who understands the game. For SMU greats Bobby Wilson and Doak Walker, there was William Madison (Matty) Bell. Matty Bell came to SMU in 1934 and served as the line coach for one season before being named head coach in 1935. In 1955, Bell was honored for being one of the greatest coaches in college history by being enshrined into the College Football Hall of Fame. Matty Bell's contributions to SMU will never be forgotten, making his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.

He attended Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, from 1916 to 1920, and received his B.S. degree. He was head coach at Haskell Indian Institute in Lawrence, Kansas (1920-21), at Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin (1922-23), and at TCU (1923-28). He coached at Texas A&M from 1929 until 1933 when he was relieved for his inability to beat SMU. In 1934, he moved to Dallas to coach the line for Ray Morrison at SMU. In 1935, Ray Morrison left SMU for Vanderbilt, and Matty Bell was named head coach.

They called him "Moanin' Matty", because coach Matty Bell was the master of pessimistic predictions, usually used to serve his own best interests. When Bell pulled out the crying towel, opposing coaches became wary. There was good reason. Bell instilled in his players the same cold and calculated approach which dominated his own personal preparations before a game. "When I was coaching at Texas A&M we played Tulane's 1931 Rose Bowl team, and I never forgot the ice-water poise they had in the unexcited way they went about their business", he once recalled. "I told myself that if I ever had a great team I'd try to keep them in the same frame of mind." He was known as a great defensive coach and renowned for his wide-open style of game. He was remembered for the respect he gave each of his players and for never using a word of profanity.

Bell's first team at SMU swept through the 12-game regular season on the way to the national championship, before losing to Stanford, 7-0, in the Rose Bowl. The 1935 SMU squad was the first team from west of the Mississippi (aside from the Pacific Coast Conference teams) to be invited to the Rose Bowl, and that fact helped to put Southwest Conference football on the map. He also led the Mustangs to co-SWC championship with Texas A&M in 1940 before his tenure at SMU was interrupted in 1941 by World War II. He served as a commander in the United States Naval Reserve (Aviation) from 1942 to 1945. In 1945, he returned to SMU, where he continued as head coach until 1949.

He coached the Doak Walker led Mustangs to back-to-back SWC titles in 1947 and 1948, including two trips to the Cotton Bowl. In his last game at SMU, in the Cotton Bowl on December 3, 1949, he brought the seriously undermanned Mustangs, who were twenty-four-point underdogs, to a near-defeat of Notre Dame, which won the game by a late touchdown, 27 to 20. In 1950 Bell was succeeded as head coach by his assistant, H. N. (Rusty) Russell. He also served as director of athletics there from 1945 to 1964. He retired in 1964. For his career, Matty Bell coached his teams to 154 wins, 87 losses, and 17 ties. At SMU, his Mustangs went 79-34-10, won the 1935 National Championship, and Doak Walker won the Heisman Trophy in 1948. Matty Bell will go down as arguably the greatest coach in SMU history, and his enshrinement in the College Football Hall of Fame is one of the 90 Greatest Moments in SMU Football History.

THE COUNTDOWN
No. 90 :: First School Win (1915)
No. 89 :: Rutledge sets two school records (2003)
No. 88 :: Phillips 100 yard INT (1984)
No. 87 :: McCown completes 19 straight (1999)
No. 86 :: Brownlee kicks 57 yd. field goal (1985)
No. 85 :: Bennett records first career win (2002)
No. 84 :: SMU closes out the Cotton Bowl (1999)
No. 83 :: Ownby Stadium opens (1926)
No. 82 :: James sets SWC record (1982)
No. 81 :: Stewart named All-American (1993)
No. 80 :: Briggs sets new Mustang mark (2002)
No. 79 :: SMU defeats Arkansas 31-9 (1997)
No. 78 :: The 1980 Holiday Bowl (1980)
No. 77 :: Hopkins records 4 INTs (1981)
No. 76 :: Pony Express heads to Japan (1983)
No. 75 :: SMU plays in first ever bowl game (1924)
No. 74 :: Hayden Fry named head coach (1962)
No. 73 :: McIlhenny leads SMU over Baylor (1982)
No. 72 :: Flanigan sets total offense record (1997)
No. 71 :: Bell inducted into CFHOF (1955)
No. 70 :: Dickerson runs wild against A&M (1980)
No. 69 :: Charles breaks freshman record (2001)
No. 68 :: Johnson sets sack record (1999)
No. 67 :: Dupard leads pouding of Texas (1985)
No. 66 :: Sanders named first All-America (1928)
No. 65 :: Rossley breaks reception record (1994)
No. 64 :: First win over Texas (1924)
No. 63 :: Gregg returns to SMU (1988)
No. 62 :: Mann leads SMU over TCU (1926)
No. 61 :: Berry defines excellence (1954)
No. 60 :: Birth of the Mustang Name (1917)
No. 59 :: Ford scores first TD in Ford (2000)
No. 58 :: Wolf sets SWC record (1992)
No. 57 :: Meredith sets SWC record (1957)
No. 56 :: Choate Anchors SMU Defense (1978)
No. 55 :: SMU downs Texas (1965)
No. 54 :: Tolbert leads win over BU (1978)
No. 53 :: SMU downs Texas in Austin (1982)
No. 52 :: Partee kicks win over Baylor (1966)
No. 51 :: Hopkins recovers Pitt fumble (1983)
No. 50 :: Dickerson scores 19 TDs (1981)
No. 49 :: Romo breaks completion record (1990)
No. 48 :: LeVias breaks reception record (1968)
No. 47 :: SMU records 400th win (1997)
No. 46 :: SMU clinches winning season (1997)
No. 45 :: Walker on Life Magazine (1948)
No. 44 :: Rote No. 1 NFL Draft Pick (1951)
No. 43 :: SMU blanks TCU (1966)
No. 42 :: SMU downs UNT on Homecoming (1989)
No. 41 :: SMU RUNS over Razorbacks (1980)
No. 40 :: Richardson sets rushing record (1968)
No. 39 :: Wolf breaks NCAA record (1989)
No. 38 :: SMU downs Arkansas (1984)
No. 37 :: The Decision (1945)
No. 36 :: Doak Walker Day at SMU (1998)
No. 35 :: SMU Upsets A&M (1974)
No. 34 :: SMU Ties Ohio State (1978)
No. 33 :: SMU ties Penn State (1948)
No. 32 :: The Army game (1928)
No. 31 :: The TCU Game (1947)
No. 30 :: SMU comeback against Baylor (1975)
No. 29 :: Hixson leads nation in passing (1968)
No. 28 :: Back to the Cotton Bowl (1949)
No. 27 :: Smith picks off Marino (1983)
No. 26 :: The Aloha Bowl (1984)
No. 25 :: Mustang Mania (1978)
No. 24 :: First SWC Title (1923)
No. 23 :: LeVias Baffles Texas A&M (1966)
No. 22 :: Debut Of The Pony Express (1980)
No. 21 :: Undefeated SMU Beats Texas (1947)
No. 20 :: The Ohio State game (1950)
No. 19 :: Dickerson breaks SWC record (1982)
No. 18 :: Revenge against Houston (1992)
No. 17 :: Tie versus Texas A&M (1994)
No. 16 :: Win over Notre Dame (1951)
No. 15 :: Walker career accolades (1949)
No. 14 :: SMU ranked No. 2 (1982)
No. 13 :: The House That Doak Built
No. 12 :: Bluebonnet Bowl in 1968
No. 11 :: Opening of Ford Stadium (2000)
No. 10 :: The Navy Game (1963)
No. 9 :: Carter's block against Arkansas (1982)
No. 8 :: Miracle on Mockingbird (1989)
No. 7 :: The 1949 Notre Dame Game
No. 6 :: National Champions (1935)
No. 5 :: Signing of Jerry LeVias (1965)
No. 4 :: McIlhenny Cotton Bowl TD (1983)
No. 3 :: The Miracle Man (1982)
No. 2 :: The $85,000 Pass (1935)
No. 1 :: Doak Wins the Heisman (1948)

Mustang Locker Room
  FACEBOOK
  INSTAGRAM
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.