When you brag on West Texas and Texas Tech, the same thing gets brought up time and time again, the people. Everyone that has spent anytime in Lubbock knows the people make it special. One of the most special people, was former head football coach Spike Dikes.
The first sign of any great coach should be that he left the program better than when he go their. At the end of the 1986 season Texas Tech lost their head coach to the University of Texas before the bowl game. That last game was coached by Dykes. They would lose to Ol' Miss 20-17 after a 48 yard field goal. That would not be the last time that Dykes would face the Rebels in a bowl game.
In his time at Texas Tech Univeristy, Dykes would guide his team to a winning season in all but three years. Those three years were, 1988, 1990, and 1992. After each one, the team would be .500 or better the next year. Once the Big 12 started, Tech would not finish worse than .500 in conference play.
The worst season under Dykes would have to have been 1990. The team was coming off a 9 win season. They had lost leading rusher James Gray, and leading receiver Travis Price. They would see the emergence of freshman Robert Hall and Rodney Blacksher would have his best year at Tech, but the wins did not follow. They would only have one home win on the year, and that was the last game of the year vs SMU.
The best season under the coach for me would be the 1995 season where the team would finish 9-3. Zach Thomas, and Marcus Coleman both would be drafted off of that team. It would see wins over A&M, and TCU at home. On the road, a victory over Houston would lead them to the Cooper Bowl in Arizona. The Red Raiders defeated Airforce, scoring the second most points of the year, 55-41.
Another make of a great coach, is what your rivals say about you. Former Longhorn head coach Mack Brown called Spike Dykes his friend. At Dykes funeral he said quote, "I love him, I miss him, as Anthony (Lynn) said his legacy is about people. It's about truth. It's about Family." He started his speech saying he lost a friend.
On field success aside, Spike Dykes embodied Texas Tech and West Texas like no one else. He was kind, and thoughtful. I don't remember him without a smile on his face. Some of that could be time, and some of that was just Spike.
The Ring of Honor has some great players at Texas Tech. More will be added in the future. But there aren't any statues around Jones Stadium that the fans can see. It's time for that to change. We need to come together as Red Raiders and honor Coach Dykes forever. It is Jones Stadium. Spike should be welcoming the fans to it.