Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Advertise in our classifieds section
Your classified listing could be here!
October 4, 2022

Notes on the Coach: TCU’s Sonny Dykes

Courtesy of Tristen Smith/TCU 360
TCU head coach Sonny Dykes leads the team out of the tunnel before the Fiesta Bowl on Dec. 31, 2022.

One year removed from its best season ever, TCU head coach Sonny Dykes and the Horned Frogs have come crashing back down to Earth in 2023, sporting a 4–5 record ahead of a home clash against Texas. The Longhorns will take the road in hopes of bolstering their playoff case, a reversal of the program’s position a year ago, almost to the day.

Following up the legacy of former head coach Gary Patterson, the winningest coach in TCU history, Dykes left rival program SMU to take over in November of 2021. Behind an explosive offense that saw five offensive players taken in the 2023 NFL Draft, Dykes led TCU to a 12–0 regular season record before losing in overtime to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship.

Despite the loss, the perfect regular season secured the Horned Frogs a postseason berth, and they upset No. 3 Michigan 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl to book a ticket to the College Football Playoff National Championship. What transpired versus Georgia is a game most TCU fans likely have tried to erase from their memory, as the Horned Frogs were utterly dominated 65-7 in the most lopsided title game ever.

However, while unable to replicate last year’s success, Dykes demonstrated in year one that he is among a small circle of coaches capable of leading a team to the promised land. After playing first base at Texas Tech, he got his start coaching baseball at the high school level before making the switch to football.

Early in his career, Dykes bounced around as an offensive positional coach, with two separate stints as a positional offensive coach at Kentucky before landing at his alma mater in 2000. Dykes spent four years in Lubbock as the receivers coach before getting promoted to co-offensive coordinator in 2005, and after three years as Arizona’s offensive coordinator, he was hired as the head coach for Louisiana Tech in 2010.

Dykes improved Louisiana Tech in all three seasons he coached, going 9–3 in his final year. He was hired to coach at California ahead of the 2013 season, where he initially struggled, going 1–11 in his first year. 

With the help of eventual first overall pick Jared Goff at quarterback, Dykes and the Golden Bears improved over the next two seasons, going 8–5 in 2015 and leading California to a win over Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. However, despite signature wins over No. 11 Texas and No. 18 Utah, California regressed to 5–7 in 2016, and Dykes was fired after the season amid rumors he wasn’t fully committed to the program.

Dykes took a job as an offensive assistant at TCU in 2017, helping to lead the Horned Frogs to an 11–3 record. He was hired at SMU in 2018, and after a 5–7 record in his first year, oversaw three impressive years that had a cumulative record of 25–10, ultimately making him a hot name for Power 5 coaching vacancies.

Dykes found his opening at TCU for his second stint in 2022. Throughout his career, he has developed a reputation for building NFL talent, including Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Jared Goff and 2023 first-round pick Quentin Johnston.

Dykes will look to spoil Texas’ season this Saturday in Fort Worth in hopes of bringing back his spark from last season.

More to Discover