Spike Dykes: The embodiment of West Texas and Texas Tech football
It's not hard to put together a crystal clear picture of who Spike Dykes was, and I think that's the biggest compliment you could give the man.
Dykes was a storyteller. A straight shooter. An every man. A comic, intentional or otherwise. A smile-bringer to every room he ever inhabited.
What you saw was what you got 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. He was him. There was no fluff, no frills, no flash. There was only a desire to be a good coach and - more importantly - a good man.
A native West Texan, Coach Dykes embodied the personality of the entire region with his sharp, wry sense of humor, a cut-to-the-chase attitude comprised of humility and selflessness, and a deep desire to do well in all facets of life while greeting all comers as if they were an old friend.
That attitude bled over into Texas Tech football under his leadership. The Red Raiders played hard nosed defense complimented by some fantastic running games under Coach Dykes' tutelage. They represented Lubbock and the surrounding community well, centered in a blue-collared, underdog work ethic that helped his teams top perceived shortcomings and expectations over and over again.
His work as the head coach at Tech - both on and off the field - became the bedrock for all expectations in the past two decades on the South Plains. He single-handedly reshaped the culture of a program that had fallen on hard times, essentially recreating Texas Tech football from the ground up while simultaneously building the spring board for all future successes.
Spike Dykes is Texas Tech football. He is West Texas.
The outpouring of love and thoughts in remembrance of Coach Dykes has been astounding. You won't find a negative word from a single person about the man because there are none to be had. His former players loved him. His fellow coaches loved him. The fans loved him. The way he lived his life is the reason why.
On the day of his retirement in 1999, Coach Dykes said something that I think describes him to a T:
"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," he 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'."
But he was so much more than that to so many people.
They broke the mold with Spike Dykes.
His legacy will be our reminder of that.