Bulldog seniors finish careers in record-setting fashion
Written by Anna Claire Thomas
Bulldogs commit four turnovers
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By: T. Scott Boatright
Photos from Louisiana Tech's game at Texas State on Nov. 10, 2012.
Photos from the Louisiana Tech vs. Idaho football game.
Photos from the Louisiana Tech vs. Texas A&M game in Shreveport.
Photos from the Louisiana Tech vs. UNLV game.
Louisiana Tech at Illinois on Sept. 22, 2012
Sonny Dykes was introduced as the 32nd head coach in Louisiana Tech history on Jan. 20, 2010 in front of an overflowing Jarrell Room filled with Bulldog fans at the Charles Wyly Athletic Center. In just his second season, his parade was rained on from start to finish.
Louisiana Tech, under the direction of Dykes, captured the attention of football fans from coast to coast throughout the 2012 season as the Bulldogs led the country in first downs, scoring and total offense. Tech, which climbed the rankings as high as No. 18 and was often talked about as a "BCS Buster" team, finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the nation in first downs, scoring and total offense, fourth in the nation in passing offense, eighth in the nation in sacks allowed and 17th in the nation in rushing offense.
The offense wasn't the only thing to take the national spotlight as the team was first in the nation in punting average and first in the nation net punting behind Ray Guy Award finalist Ryan Allen while the team as a whole finished the regular season 12th in turnover margin. Over the course of an 18-game stretch between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the Bulldogs were +32 in turnover margin.
Under Dykes' direction, the Bulldogs won 16 of 18 games over the course of 13 months including back-to-back wins on the road over BCS programs in 2012 (Illinois, Virginia) and rallied from a 39-16 halftime deficit to just fall by two points, 59-57, to Heisman candidate Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M, the same Aggie team that went on to defeat No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa a few weeks later.
In a downpour at Joe Aillet Stadium on Nov. 26, 2011, the Dykes-led Bulldogs blanked New Mexico State, 44-0, to cap off a seven-game winning streak and to clinch the program's first Western Athletic Conference championship in a decade. For that, Dykes was named the 2011 WAC Coach of the Year.
The streak and title should not have come as a surprise to Bulldog fans as Tech showed they belong with the big boys early in the year, despite a 1-4 start. In the end, an opportunistic defense that was third in the nation in interceptions and pick-sixes along with a fundamentally sound offense and the 2011 Ray Guy Award-winning punter helped LA Tech notch its first seven-game win streak since 1974.
In his first season, Dykes put his high octane offense into effect, resulting in him being one of only four of the nation's 22 new head coaches to improve a team's conference record from the year before. Dykes' exciting brand of offense improved in several areas of the NCAA statistical ranks including passing offense (91st in 2009 to 62nd in 2010) and total offense (66th to 52nd) while the team's average offensive national rank improved from 65th in 2009 to 54th in 2010.
Dykes, son of Texas Tech coaching legend Spike Dykes, has coached in the PAC-10, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 during his 16 years in the college football profession while also serving under some very successful head coaches including Mike Leach and Mike Stoops.
He won the 2006 Mike Campbell Top Assistant Award, presented by the All-American Football Foundation, and was a nominee for the 2009 Broyles Award, which goes to the nation's top assistant coach.
Dykes came to Louisiana Tech after completing his third season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona, leading the Wildcats to an 8-5 record and an appearance in the Holiday Bowl. That Holiday Bowl appearance marked Dykes' 10th bowl appearance as a coach with all 10 appearances coming within an 11 year span.
A spread-offense specialist, Dykes' offensive attack set at least five single-season records at Arizona while also racking up a pile of single-game marks in the UA record book. Former Wildcat quarterback Willie Tuitama, a disciple of Dykes, notched career numbers that are among Arizona's best.
"Coach Dykes has demonstrated throughout his coaching career all the leadership qualifications we are looking for in the next leader for our football program," said acting athletics director Bruce Van De Velde. "His coaching success has been achieved at the highest level of competition, from the SEC to the Big 12 to the Pac-10."
Rivals.com cited Dykes as one of the countries brightest offensive minds and top ten college recruiters in the country.
"I have worked my entire life to get to this point, and I have had lots of great mentors that have worked with me and taught me and brought me along," said Dykes. "I am very fortunate to be here."
Dykes' Arizona team went 6-3 in the Pac-10 Conference during the 2009 campaign, finished tied for second in the league with Oregon State and Stanford.
Fond of the passing attack, Dykes Arizona offense in 2008 ranked 16th in scoring and 33rd in total offense while developing an outstanding run-pass balance.
Dykes orchestrated an Arizona offense that was ranked 10th nationally in passing yards per game in 2007 as he coached then-junior Tuitama to honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors that year. That same season, he helped develop the offensive scheme that pushed receiver Mike Thomas to first-team all-league status as a junior and senior (`08).
Prior to his tenure at Arizona, Dykes was co-offensive coordinator working with then-head coach Mike Leach and inside receivers coach Dana Holgorsen running Texas Tech's wide-open passing attack in 2005-06 after having been Texas Tech's wide receivers coach since 2000. The Red Raiders were among the nation's top six in total offense and passing during the span.
Texas Tech was No. 3 in passing and No. 6 in total offense in 2006 under his co-direction, throwing for 370 yards and accumulating nearly 450 overall. He directed an offense that scored 32 points per game in 2006 with two receivers ranked top three in the nation and a third in the top 20 in receptions per game.
While in Lubbock, Dykes helped develop Joel Filani into a two-time first team All-Big 12 honoree and a sixth-round NFL draft selection by the Tennessee Titans in 2007. Receiver Jarrett Hicks also signed a free-agent deal with the San Diego Chargers that year.
Dykes also worked with quarterback Graham Harrell who completed 412 passes for 4,555 yards and 38 touchdowns in 2006, ranking Texas Tech third nationally in total offense that season.
Prior to his five seasons at Texas Tech, Dykes spent two non-consecutive seasons at Kentucky, first coaching tight ends as a graduate assistant in 1997 and then coaching special teams and wide receivers in 1999 under the "Air Raid" attack of former UK coach Hal Mumme. Dykes coached Kentucky's James Whalen to AP All-America honors after his Division I-A record for receptions by a tight end.
Sandwiched in between his two stints in Lexington, Dykes was the wide receivers coach at Northeast Louisiana where he helped receiver Marty Booker set school season and career records and earn Blue-Gray and Shrine Game spots before getting drafted in the third round by the Chicago Bears in 1999.
A 1993 graduate of Texas Tech, Dykes lettered for three years as a baseball player for the Red Raiders. At age 40, Dykes is one of the nation's youngest coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Dykes is married to the former Kate Golding and they have two daughters, Alta Carolina (Ally) who is four and Charlotte Reese (Charlie) who turned 18 months old on Oct 18.
Dykes' Coaching Career
1994 Baseball assistant Monahans, Texas H.S.
Dykes in Bowl Games
1999 Music City Bowl Kentucky grad assistant
The Dykes File
Date of Birth: Nov. 9, 1969, Big Springs, Texas
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