There’s an adage that comes to mind when we hear that SMU head coach June Jones, with help from the Pickens family, has put into motion plans to alter the mascot traditions of SMU…
“A good team can make a mascot look great—but a great mascot can’t help a poor team play better.”
SMU is fortunate to have a coach of Jones’s caliber and SMU loyalists are excited that this may be the first step in creating a football program that achieves a higher level of on-field success while maintaining exceptional academic standards.
But SMU is equally fortunate to have as its mascot a series of Shetland ponies, consecutively named Peruna, that have been the lead and the pride of SMU activities and athletics for decades.
Jones’ attempts to toy with the traditions of SMU’s current mascot, Peruna VIII, by introducing an actual mustang as a “co-mascot” seem only to telegraph his desire to do away with 75 years of beloved and iconic traditions.
Some would rather see Jones spend his time working with his quarterback.
What Jones really should do with Peruna is make him look cool by associating him with a more successful football program!
Sure, Rome wasn’t built in a day and recreating a winning tradition for a college football team does take time…But many college programs take great pride in their “interesting” mascots and do so because of uniqueness, tradition, time, and some history of success.
Want some examples?
Just look at Ohio State’s mascot Brutus Buckeye or the Duck of Oregon.
How about the Hoosiers of Indiana? Maybe a handful of people know what a Hoosier is but Bobby Knight and his basketball program made whatever those things are the envy of hoops fans everywhere.
Even Nebraska made a Cornhusker look very intimidating just as Maryland, sometimes anyway, made a turtle look tough.
So, here’s hoping that coach Jones sees the value in SMU’s Peruna traditions and rethinks his strategy to alter the perception of Mustang athletics by putting this Shetland out to pasture.