The Texas coaching community lost a legend on Monday as former Texas Tech head coach Spike Dykes passed away at age 79. His passing was confirmed to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal by former player-turned-friend Bill Worley.
Born in Lubbock, Dykes played at Stephen F. Austin and immediately went to work in the state’s high school ranks, making a number of stops around the state from 1959-71 before joining earning his first college job on Darrell Royal’s staff at Texas. He remained in Austin for five seasons before leaving the Lone Star State for the only time in his professional career, taking assistant jobs at New Mexico and Mississippi State before returning to become the head coach at Midland Lee High School.
Dykes remained in Midland until accepting the defensive coordinator job at Texas Tech in 1984. He was elevated to the head coaching job in 1986 and remained in that post until 1999, leading the Red Raiders to an 82-67-1 mark with seven bowl trips and two top-20 finishes. He was named the Southwest Conference’s Coach of the Year twice and became the first coach to win Big 12 Coach of the Year honors.
Dykes is the father of modern Texas Tech football. He left the South Plains as the school’s all-time wins leader, built the program to a point where Mike Leach (who surpassed Dykes by two wins in his final season) could take the Red Raiders to the heights they enjoyed in the mid-to-late 2000’s, and recruited Kliff Kingsbury to Lubbock.
Funniest one-liners of anyone I knew. Cult hero among Texas HS coaches. Left-handed golfer, not very good but tried like hell. RIP, friend https://t.co/T1RZbTQnE9
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 10, 2017
— Texas Tech Athletics (@TechAthletics) April 10, 2017
Spike Dykes, to borrow a few of his own words, was "as good as it gets." Legendary coach and just an all-around good guy. pic.twitter.com/Kak33BlCKR
— Tim Griffin (@TimGriffinBig12) April 10, 2017
Six days after 9/11/01, Spike Dykes spoke at the SA Quarterback Club. It was the first time many had laughed in a while. And he said this: pic.twitter.com/o3FKCzodoK
— Mike Finger (@mikefinger) April 10, 2017
One of the ways we'll always remember Spike Dykes. pic.twitter.com/GmgOg7w3SQ
— TexasFootball.com (@dctf) April 10, 2017
— Chris Level (@ChrisLevel) April 10, 2017
A Texas Sports Hall of Famer, Dykes was a beloved member of the coaching community and the father of former Louisiana Tech and California head coach (and current TCU assistant) Sonny Dykes, along with another son and one daughter. Dykes’s wife, Sharon, passed away in 2010.