Texas Tech's Dykes Retires

Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes, who made a career out of upsetting rivals Texas and Texas A&M on the way to becoming the Red Raiders' winningest coach ever, announced his retirement after Saturday's 38-28 win over Oklahoma.

The announcement came after a week of rumors that Tech already was hunting for a new coach.

"There really wasn't any pressure put on me. This is something that I've been thinking about for a long time," said Dykes, 61.

Dykes offered no specific reason for his retirement, but said, "It was time for a bit of fresh air."

Texas Tech went 6-5 this season and was 82-67-1 under Dykes, who joined the school in 1984. The Red Raiders have recently gained notoriety for playing spoiler to Texas A&M, beating the Aggies this season 21-19 while they were ranked No. 5.

Dykes posted victories over Texas A&M six times, including three of the last four, and also beat Texas six times. He led Tech to four straight bowl games, was Southwest Conference coach of the year three times and was the first Big 12 Coach of the Year in 1996.

Along with surprise victories this season over Texas A&M, Colorado and Oklahoma, the Red Raiders were upset by Missouri, Oklahoma State and lowly North Texas, and were embarrassed last week by Texas. Postseason losses like last year's 35-18 beating by Mississippi in the Independence Bowl also spawned a sense among many Texas Tech fans that the team wasn't living up to its potential.

"A lot of people in this world don't have any fun, but I've had a ball," Dykes said.

Dykes, like many of Tech's key players, is a product of West Texas football. He was a head coach at three Texas high schools before landing an assistant coaching job at Texas in 1972, under Darrell Royal. He returned to high school coaching at Midland Lee in 1980, leading the team to a 34-11-1 record before going to Tech.

Locally, Dykes was best known for his good-natured coaching style and friendly disposition.

"I think you coach because you love love kids," Dykes had said previously. "And if you do that, every day is rewarding. That way you never get your priorities out of perspective. It all boils down to the chance to work with young people, hopefully be an influence on them for the better, help them make something of themselves that is positive."

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