Sonny Dykes’ hiring by Cal on Wednesday night means the former Arizona offensive coordinator will be coaching against the the Wildcats in the Pac-12 starting next season.
The Wildcats missed Cal in the first two years of the Pac-12’s revolving schedule (a full list of the schedule is on the jump of this post). The Golden Bears and Dykes host Rich Rodriguez and the Wildcats in 2013. Dates have not been set.
Dykes, Arizona’s offensive coordinator under Mike Stoops from 2007-2009, was 22-15 in three seasons with Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs were 9-3 this season. One of the losses was a 59-57 loss to Texas A&M, which went 10-2 in its first SEC season.
In one of the questionable developments of the bowl season, Louisiana Tech was not invited to a bowl despite having the No. 2 offense in the nation with 577.2 yards a game.
Dykes, 43, learned the “Air Raid” offense from Hal Mumme during one season at Kentucky and over seven seasons at Texas Tech with Mike Leach. The system is designed out of a shotgun formation with four wide receivers and one running back. The formations are a variation of the run and shoot offense with two outside receivers and two inside slot receivers. The offense also utilizes three wide receivers on one side and a lone single receiver on the other side.
Dykes incorporated many elements of that offense at Arizona and Louisiana Tech. The Wildcats gained 5,231 yards of total offense in 2008 with Willie Tuitama, Rob Gronkowski and Mike Thomas as featured parts of the offense. They also had the most offensive plays — 916 — that year since they joined the Pac-12 in 1978.
That number was topped by the 2010 team that had 959 offensive plays. This year’s offense has the most plays at 999 with the New Mexico Bowl remaining against Nevada on Dec. 15.
Dykes and Mark Stoops, both part of the Arizona staffs that coached Arizona in the 2008 Las Vegas Bowl and 2009 Holiday Bowl, are now head coaches. Mark Stoops, formerly the UA defensive coordinator, was hired by Kentucky last week.
Arizona has featured plenty of assistant coaches and players who have coached against the Wildcats as assistant coaches at other Pac-12 teams. Never has an assistant coach advanced to a head coaching level to face Arizona in the conference’s history. Former UA head coach Larry Smith coached at USC from 1987-1992 after leading the Wildcats from 1980-1986.
Ron McBride was an assistant under Dick Tomey at Arizona and later coached at Utah, but that was when the Utes were in the Mountain West Conference.
In basketball, the Pac-12 has featured two former UA assistants as head coaches — Jay John at Oregon State and Kevin O’Neill at USC.
The Denver Post reported earlier Wednesday that Cincinnati’s Butch Jones will be Colorado’s next coach. Jones continues to deny that report.
Jones was Central Michigan’s coach in 2009 when the Chippewas opened the season at Arizona Stadium against the Wildcats. Arizona won 19-6 as Matt Scott, then a sophomore, started and passed for 202 yards while rushing for 83. That was only one of two losses for Central Michigan, which finished 11-2. Jones was hired by Cincinnati the following year after Brian Kelly was hired by Notre Dame.
Kelly also preceded Jones at Central Michigan. He has coached the Fighting Irish into the BCS championship game against Alabama with a 12-0 record.
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner