Dykes’ leaves LA Tech and starts new chapter in Cal football history book
DEREK J. AMAYA
Associate Managing Editor
A Western Athletic Conference championship, first time playing in the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl and an overall record of 22-15 will now be chasing the California dream.
The University of California Berkley Golden Bears’ Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour announced last week that Tech former head coach Sonny Dykes has accepted a job to the same position at Cal.
“Sonny Dykes is one of the brightest offensive minds in the country, running a high-octane style of football, one that I’m certain will allow our student-athletes to thrive and that our community will love on game day,” Barbour said.
For the past few seasons, Dykes has turned around the LA Tech football program, which improved all three seasons he was in Ruston.
The Golden Bears, under his leadership, will see a faster-paced offense similar to their conference rivals, the Washington State University Cougars. Former Texas Tech University Red Raiders’ head coach Mike Leach, who Dykes served under for five seasons as a wide receivers coach, coaches the Cougars.
“I am excited for the opportunity to become head coach at the University of California,” Dykes said. “Cal offers one of the best combinations of athletics and academics in the country, and a passionate fan base to match.”
Dykes, the son of former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes, will be making his second stop in the Pacific-12 conference since leaving his offensive coordinator position at the University of Arizona Wildcats three years ago.
An offensive guru, along with offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, he helped put together the 2012 football season’s No. 1-ranked offense.
“We think what we will do on offense will put a charge into the (University of California) program and give a spike in recruiting,” Dykes told ESPN on the night after he met with LA Tech. “We want excitement. I want to sell it to the alumni, boosters, players, families, fans and high school coaches. I want to hit the ground running.”
Cal went 3-9 this season and 2-7 in PAC-12 conference play under former head coach Jeff Tedford.
“We discussed the unique place that Berkeley and Cal Athletics occupy in higher education, standing for both academic and athletic excellence,” Barbour said. “Above all, Sonny values the opportunity to develop relationships with and have an impact on his student-athletes, staff and community.”
LA Tech, other than searching for a a coach, has yet to release a statement on the matter.
The ’Dogs went 9-3 this season without making a bowl game.
The journey to find a new coach begins with a search committee chaired by Dr. Les Guice, Louisiana Tech’s president-elect.
For more on Tech athletics, follow the Tech Talk Sports Desk’s Twitter page at twitter.com/techtalksports.
Email comments to dja...@latech.edu.
Daily Californian Sports Reporter
This story was originally published by The Daily Californian student newpaper at the University of California.
Amid the downpour of dead week, excitement is in the Berkeley air.
Call it the oncoming Bear raid. Or perhaps Air Bears.
With Sonny Dykes and the “air raid” offense coming to Cal, nicknames for the 2013 Bears’ offense have already been floated throughout the campus community and blogosphere.
“What’s exciting is our brand of football is fun,” Dykes said on Dec. 6’s press conference introducing him as the Cal football team’s new head coach. “I can’t really begin to say how special it is to stand here as head coach at Cal … It’s a dream come true.”
But the football program is a puzzle, and at the field club at Memorial Stadium, the talk was about how the hiring of Dykes fits the pieces together.
After firing Jeff Tedford on Nov. 20 following a 3-9 season, Athletics Director Sandy Barbour formed a search advisery committee that included student-athletes, football alumni, faculty members and other coaches. The group, which did not interview candidates or even mention names, came up with a consensus on the personal characteristics, values and experience the new coach should have.
Barbour said that Dykes — the Louisiana Tech head coach who, in three seasons, led the squad to a 22-15 record and a league title in 2011 — was whom they had in mind in that room on Nov. 26.
“You’ve read all the statistics, but until you meet the man and spend time with him and probe his values and hopes and dream … you don’t know what an incredible fit he is to lead the young men in this program,” Barbour said. “His win-everywhere mentality is ultimately what has brought coach Dykes to Berkeley.”
Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance John Wilton, who along with Chancellor Robert Birgeneau advised Barbour during the selection process, called Dykes the first choice. Barbour said she interviewed numerous candidates but kept coming back to Dykes after his initial interview.
“When he walked out of the room, I said to myself, ‘I think that’s the guy,’” Barbour said.
Dykes said there were a lot of viable coaching jobs available, but he was interested in Cal from the onset.
“Cal has a commitment to excellence,” he said, “A commitment to win every single day and in every single way.”
In recruiting athletes, he said getting the state of California is paramount to the program’s success.
For now, Barbour is glad that her search is over, and a whirlwind two days has ended for Dykes.
“We’ll look back at it all and say it was the best 48 hours of my life,” he said.
Full version online at The Daily Californian. www.dailycal.org.
Email comments to jkup...@dailyca.org.