Bennett Hired As SMU Coach

Wednesday, December 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

DALLAS (AP) _ Kansas State defensive coordinator Phil Bennett was hired as coach at SMU, which finished 4-7 during a season in which it fired coach Mike Cavan.

The school confirmed Bennett's hiring Wednesday and was to introduce him at an afternoon news conference.

Cavan was dismissed in November, failing to fully rebuild the program. His team was sixth in the Western Athletic Conference with a 4-4 record, and the Mustangs were 22-34 in five years under him.

Cavan came to the school in 1997 after kick-starting moribund teams at Division II Valdosta State and I-AA East Tennessee State.

His first Mustangs' team went 6-5, in SMU's first winning season since coming back from the NCAA's death penalty in 1989. But the Mustangs went 5-7 the following year, then 4-6 and 3-9.

Bennett has been the defensive coordinator at Kansas State since 1999 and also has coached defensive backs. He led the team to the nation's No. 1 pass-efficiency defense and No. 2 total defense in his first year. This year, Kansas State ranked third in total defense.