Mar. 24, 1997

Spike Dykes Is Nothing Fancy

The following article was written by freelance writer Carlton Stowers shortly after Dykes got his head coaching opportunity at Texas Tech in 1986. It is still relevant today.

That particularly memorable year of 1955 was a glorious time. Those Bearcats were rolling past such arch rivals as the Coleman Bluecats and the Winters Blizzards, en route to the Class AA state playoffs. To this day I can remember the names. Names like Spike Dykes, who was picked to the All-State squad, an honor that elevated him to sainthood in my neighborhood.

Those of us several years removed from the high school glories we dreamed for ourselves followed his every move. We emulated his walk and swelled with pride when, in his ever friendly manner, he slung a massive arm over our shoulder and offered encouragement or a warm hello. Ollie North never looked so distinguished. Spike was the kind of role model every momma and daddy in Ballinger wholeheartedly endorsed. Not only did he religiously report for each new sport with the change of season, but tended to his academic business well, attended church and Sunday school on a regular basis, worked a summer job and said, 'Yes Sir' and 'No Ma'am to elders.

What Red Raider followers have is a down-to-earth, no foolin'-around kind of guy. No three-piece suits and hair spray. No businessman/coach/politician approach. Nothing fancy. This is a guy who rarely wears a tie and drives a seven-year-old Buick with 80,000 miles on it. Spike is in the business he's in for the simple and refreshing reason that he loves what he is doing. And he has been doing it for three decades in a lot of places you've never heard of. Sometimes his duties included driving the school bus every morning, picking up student en route to such places as Eastland High School, Coahoma, Belton and Big Spring. Back in Eastland they paid him $4,000 a year to coach, teach, drive the bus route which required his getting up at 5:30 a.m. each day, and launder the uniforms.

Folks in Lubbock who farm cotton and wear their shirt collars open and don't abide a lot of fancy rhetoric, can relate to that kind of thinking. Spike Dykes just might be the man they've been looking for to lead their beloved Red Raiders to new heights. Chances are they'll soon view him as the same kind of hero we 15-year-olds did so many football seasons ago.

Better Than Expected...
Season    Media Tour    Texas Football    Actual Finish
1987      5th           5th               4th
1988#     3rd           4th               3rd
1989+     5th           5th               3rd
1990+     5th           5th               4th tie
1991      5th           5th               2nd tie
1992      2nd           2nd               2nd tie
1993      4th           2nd               2nd tie
+Houston and #Texas A&M not counted in polls or finishes because
of SWC ineligibility


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