SMU officially introduced Sonny Dykes as its new football coach Tuesday morning at Miller Events Center.
Dykes comes to SMU after spending last season as an offensive analyst for SMU. Before that, he was the head coach at Cal and Louisiana Tech. Dykes said he was happy to be on The Hilltop.
“I’m so appreciative of this opportunity and so excited to get started,” Dykes said.
SMU hired Dykes five days after Chad Morris left the school for the University of Arkansas. Athletic Director Rick Hart interviewed several candidates for the opening, but Dykes stood out to him.
“When I spoke to people throughout the country about Coach Dykes, three things developed,” Hart said. “Number one: great football coach. Number two: high character, high integrity. And three: leader of young men.”
Dykes is a native of Big Spring, Texas and grew up an SMU fan. For his 13th birthday, his father took him to an SMU football game. Dykes saw the Mustangs beat Texas Tech with a last-minute touchdown.
“To me, this is coming home,” Dykes said.
Hart also announced that Dykes will coach his new team during the Frisco Bowl Dec. 20. Just nine days after meeting the team, he will have to lead them against Louisiana Tech.
Dykes must learn the offense fast. He is counting on quarterback Ben Hicks to teach him.
“I told him he’s gonna be the first player-coach in college football right now,” Dykes said of Hicks.
Dykes has just met his new players and is dedicated to delivering them a bowl game victory.
“What we want to do is continue to build on the success and the blueprint that Chad (Morris) started,” Dykes said. “And the most important thing that we can do is get off to a good start by winning a bowl game.”
Dykes has a challenging few weeks ahead of him. SMU has already lost three of its class of 2018 commits, as wide receiver Mike Woods and offensive lineman Silas Robinson both joined Morris in Fayetteville and linebacker Tre Allison flipped to Syracuse. Dykes said he had already spoken to about half of the 2018 recruits on the phone and plans to visit more in person. With the early signing period coming up, he must work hard to keep as many of those recruits on board as he can.
Dykes also has to hire a staff. Morris took several offensive assistants with him to Arkansas, and Dykes also said he will look for a defensive coordinator, meaning current defensive coordinator Van Malone may not return.
Dykes finished his Cal career with just a 19-30 record, but he has been credited with improving the team’s academics. At SMU, his vision is for the team to achieve success both on the field and in the classroom.
“You could have a great athletic program, you could have a great football team, you could have great academics and you could do it all with integrity and character. That’s what this program is gonna be all about,” Dykes said.