The following is from the Aug. 14, 2008, edition of The Sporting News.
DALLAS (AP) — Perhaps the best sign of changing times at SMU is the A-list cast of curious fans who have stopped by two-a-days to check out new coach June Jones and his new-look Mustangs.
Former Dallas Cowboys players Troy Aikman and Daryl Johnston took in a recent morning practice. Wide receiver Terrell Owens has stopped by. Adam "Pacman" Jones and Devin Hester went one-on-one at an SMU football camp. ("Fastest drill I've ever seen," SMU wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said.)
Not bad company for a team coming off a 1-11 season and two decades of post-death penalty futility.
"It doesn't make you feel like we were 1-11 last year, for sure," said quarterback Justin Willis.
The billboards around town say "June Cometh," and SMU officials are hoping that thousands of new fans will follow. More than a month before Jones' home debut, season ticket sales are up 50 percent over last year, when the team's announced attendance was about 17,000 per game.
The attraction is Jones, whose Hawaii team last season went 12-0 during the regular season to become the third team from a non-Bowl Championship Series conference to qualify for a BCS bowl. The Warriors, however, became the first of those three teams to lose, falling 41-10 to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
In addition to crashing a BCS bowl, Jones' strongest coaching credential is his talent for reviving flat-lined programs. In the five seasons before Jones arrived at Hawaii, the Warriors won a total of 12 games and went winless in 1998. Under Jones in 1999, Hawaii was 9-4, the biggest one-season turnaround in NCAA history.
SMU will test Jones' resuscitative skills. The Mustangs are coming off a one-win season, which came four years after going winless.
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