You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Coaches, fans mourn loss of Spike Dykes, Texas Tech’s colorful coach


Former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes was known for his salty defenses. And his Red Raiders teams loved to run the football and punish teams late in games. It’s why he became the winningest coach in program history.

However, the best part of the games might’ve been Dykes’ press conferences. With his pronounced West Texas drawl, Dykes was a talker, a charmer, a character, someone who’d make anyone feel immediately at ease.

He’d toss out the country one-liners he learned from growing up in Ballinger or on one of his many coaching stops from San Angelo to Midland, from Austin to Alice, even in Starkville, Miss.

Dykes, who retired from football in 1999 and moved to Horseshoe Bay to live a relaxing life of golf and fishing, died Monday of an apparent heart attack. He was 79. His wife, Sharon, preceded him in death after more than a half-century of marriage. He is survived by three children, including Sonny Dykes, who was the head coach at Louisiana Tech and Cal and is now an offensive analyst at TCU.

Memorial services will be held in Lubbock on Thursday and then in Horseshoe Bay on Friday.

Fans, coaches and his former players mourned him mightily after learning of his death. State leaders even were tweeting about Dykes’ impact on them.

The main scoreboard at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock featured a large photo of Dykes, wearing red and waving. “Thank you, coach,” it said.

Dykes was the perfect fit for Tech.

He was born across the street from campus. His dad was a cotton ginner. Dykes grew up in Oasis near the New Mexico border, then his family settled in Ballinger. Dykes played center for the high school and helped lead his team to the Class 2A state finals. He played football for Stephen F. Austin, then decided to be a high school coach.

Darrell Royal gave him his first college job in 1972. While at Texas, Dykes coached freshmen, special teams and the offensive and defensive lines. He stayed with Royal in Austin until Royal retired in 1976.

Dykes found his way to Tech in 1984 as defensive coordinator. In 1986, when David McWilliams left Tech to become head coach at UT, Dykes was promoted.

He compiled an 82-67-1 record. Tech qualified for seven bowl games and he coached nine All-Americans, with two Doak Walker winners and a Butkus Award finalist. He was honored as Southwest Conference coach of the year three times. He won the same honor in 1996, the first year of the Big 12. He was so beloved at Tech that the athletic director gave him a 10-year contract during one of the few losing seasons.

Toward the end of his time at Tech, Dykes would tell folks, “they say you lose 10 percent of your fan base every year. And I’ve been here 11 years, so you do the math.”

Dykes’ Raiders beat Texas and Texas A&M six times apiece. No other Raiders coach was as successful against the state’s two premiere programs.

“So sad we lost my great friend. … Coach Spike Dykes this morning. Great coach and better man. Will be missed by many!” tweeted former Texas coach Mack Brown, who lost to Dykes in Lubbock in 1998.

Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum, who attended the 2008 ceremony when Dykes was inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, said on Twitter: “Sad day today. Lost a great friend and great coach. A Legend-Coach Spike Dykes. R.I.P. My friend.”

Dykes’ final victory was a home upset of Oklahoma. His decision that day to start a freshman quarterback — Kliff Kingsbury — continues to impact the Tech program.

Kingsbury is now Tech’s head coach.

“Words cannot describe what coach Dykes meant to West Texas, Texas Tech University, this program and me, personally,” Kingsbury said in a statement. “He was a great coach and an even better person. He will forever be remembered as one of the all-time greatest Red Raiders.”

In retirement, Dykes would give speeches. A few days after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, he made the crowd at the San Antonio Quarterback Club laugh, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

He said: “If anybody cries at my funeral, get them out of here. You talk about a guy who has cut the heart out of a watermelon. I’ve lived at the best time of the history of the world.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Westlake closes with a rush to grab Class 6A tournament lead
Westlake closes with a rush to grab Class 6A tournament lead

As he approached the 16th tee box during the opening round of the Class 6A boys state tournament, Westlake junior golfer Reid Davenport had a quiet conversation with his team’s coach, Callan Nokes, just before he pulled an iron out of his bag for the par-3 hole. Nokes, mincing no words, implored Davenport to step up and help the Chaparrals break...
Cedar Park’s Dunne shares first-round lead at Class 5A state tournament
Cedar Park’s Dunne shares first-round lead at Class 5A state tournament

Cedar Park golfer Ben Dunne responded to the worst round of his high school career with a day to remember. A junior, Dunne tamed Wolfdancer Golf Club with a 2-under-par 70 Monday in the opening round of the Class 5A boys state tournament. Dunne and Scott Roden of Highland Park will be tied for first place entering the final round of the tournament...
Golden’s nuggets: Kudos to coming back to finish your college degree
Golden’s nuggets: Kudos to coming back to finish your college degree

Kudos to several Texas exes who earned their college degrees over the weekend. I’ve always believed it’s much more difficult to return to school a decade-plus later after a career and maintain the discipline needed to earn that degree. It was nice to see former basketball coach Rick Barnes and his All-American point guard T.J. Ford share...
Bohls: Remember sacrifice bunts? Texas baseball has shifted away from small-ball
Bohls: Remember sacrifice bunts? Texas baseball has shifted away from small-ball

The Texas baseball team may rank last in the Big 12 in batting average, but it ranks first in double takes. That’s as in hitters, staring down at signals delivered from the third base coaching box and incredulously giving a second glance in disbelief. Earlier this season, Kacy Clemens came to bat with a man on first and all but expected the sign...
Spring update: Predicting where the top 10 2018 players in the Fabulous 55 sign
Spring update: Predicting where the top 10 2018 players in the Fabulous 55 sign

With spring evaluation period ending at the end of May, the recruiting picture around the state is starting to focus. Here are early predictions of where the state’s top 10 players from this year’s Fabulous 55 end up come national signing day. The only committed player on this list – Caden Sterns – flipped his commitment from...
More Stories