Pearl Harbor visit will be emotional for SMU

December, 16, 2009
SMU coach June Jones laid out his team's goal of going to the Hawaii Bowl on the first day of training camp.

"Coach Jones came in and said we’re going to get on a bus in Hawaii and go see Pearl Harbor," SMU quarterback Kyle Padron said. "He got really emotional when he was talking to us about that. Going to Pearl Harbor, he and Coach Gansz talked about that before coach Gansz passed away. It’s going to be very big for our program, a very emotional time. We’re glad we have the chance to do that."

The Mustangs leave Saturday for a Christmas Eve date against Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl, SMU's first bowl appearance since 1984. Pearl Harbor is the first excursion on the itinerary.

Frank Gansz passed away in April at age 70 after complications after undergoing knee replacement surgery. A coaching giant who spent 24 of his 38-year career in the NFL and 14 in the college ranks, Gansz coached the Kansas City Chiefs and is regarded as perhaps the greatest special teams coach in the history of the NFL.

This would have been his second season at SMU.

"Coach Gansz, before he passed away, he and I used to talk about it all the time," Jones said. "That’s what we wanted to do, take the kids to see Pearl Harbor."

They'll get their chance on Sunday.



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