It was Albert Einstein who once said the true measure of a man is not in what he accomplishes, but in what he has given. He could have been talking about Spike Dykes.
For 13 seasons as the head coach of the Texas Tech football program Dykes has given more than should have ever been expected. He has given his time, his talents, his resources - but more importantly - Dykes has given his heart to Texas Tech.
The longest tenured coach in Texas Tech football history has finally given enough. Following the final game in Jones Stadium of the 1999 football season, Dykes announced that after more than 40 years of prowling a football sideline he is retiring.
Amid swirling conjecture Dykes held true to what has long been the benchmark of his program. Not flinching or wavering through the speculation, he officially told no one until he gathered his players around him in the post-game locker room following Saturday's game. The players have always come first, and this day would be no different.
Dykes has accomplished much at Texas Tech, but his biggest accomplishment is instilling in a generation of Red Raiders a soul that is not timid, a determined heart unafraid to fail and a spirit that dared to compete.
While some others have drawn their drive from the glitz and glitter that can be big-time college football, Dykes has spent his career drawing inspiration from the ability to simply compete. A quote from Theodore Roosevelt, hanging on his office wall where only he can see, has been the creed that has governed Dykes' football career.
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. ...Theodore Roosevelt
William Taylor Dykes long ago put his stamp on the Red Raider football program and retires as the dean of coaches in the Big 12 Conference and the winningest coach in Texas Tech history at age 61.
There have been 12 head coaches in Texas Tech's 73-year football history. Only Dykes and Cawthon lasted more than a decade. Serving as Texas Tech's head coach longer than anyone else is only one in a long line of unprecedented achievements for Dykes when its comes to Red Raider football:
His success is quite an accomplishment when considering Dykes took over a program that had experienced only one winning season in the previous eight years. He's helped make it so competitive that the Red Raiders played in a school-record four consecutive bowls games in the 1990s and in six overall during his 13-year tenure.
Few coaches anywhere were a more perfect fit than Dykes for Texas Tech. He not only has elevated the program into consistently challenging for conference championships, he also won admirers throughout the game for his appreciation of traditional West Texas values and his genuine love for people.
Dykes is one of the game's all-time "straight shooters." His priorities start and end with people, primarily his players, staff and family. Everything else takes a back seat.
A member of the Texas High School Coaches Association's Hall of Honor, Dykes is equally at home on a sideline or enjoying chicken fried steak with the regulars at some out of the way diner.
Through 41 seasons Dykes' reason for coaching has never wavered.
"You coach because you love kids, and if you do that, every day is rewarding. That way you never get your priorities out of perspective," Dykes said. "It's never been important to me for this to be `Spike Dykes' team'. All I've ever wanted to be known as is just `Coach'."
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