I typically don't do free advertising, but in this instance, I thought it was appropriate. Earlier this year I was approached by some former Red Raiders who played under Spike Dykes, about helping promote the Spike Dykes Charity Golf Tournament, taking place on Saturday, July 21st, at the Barton Creek Country Club in Austin [see the press release (PDF) for more details]. You can also check out SpikeDykes.com to register or donate.
As some of you may know, Coach Dykes' wife, Sharon, passed away in 2010 after a long fight with Alzheimer's Disease and the purpose of Coach Dykes' golf tournament is to raise money to find a cure.
Alzheimer's Disease affected me earlier this year as my grandmother passed away having suffered from dementia. It was only two years between when she knew who I was, who my wife was and that we were adopting to where she didn't know why I was in her house. It's a disease that takes its toll on a lot of people
Coach Dyke's golf tournament is a celebration more than anything else. Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech are all assisting in the effort. Texas Tech has donated four tickets to the Kansas game as part of the auction and is sending a team to the tournament. Darrell Royal's wife, Edith Royal, will also be in attendance and if things go well, so will Coach Royal. Coach Royal is also battling dementia and to remind you of the connection, Coach Dykes was an assistant coach for Coach Royal at Texas from 1972 through 1976. Again, if things go well, there will be over 100 former Red Raiders attending the event and you can thank Tracy Saul, Cody McGuire, Jerod Fiebiger, Rodney Blackshear, Tony Daniels, Robby Joiner, Keith Cockrum, J Frederick and a former Tech cheerleader Tonya Hester for organizing this event and seeing it to its fruition.
I also wanted to address the fact that this group has come under some heat for having the event in Austin. Coach Dykes retired in the Marble Falls area, so the group thought to converge on Coach Dykes' local course because it is central and the attendees could make it from Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, and Lubbock without too much trouble. Also, they had attendees flying in from places as far away as Panama. Then they initially talked with the resort in Coach Dykes' area, but their prices wouldn't allow for any charitable donation, but found another resort only thirty minutes from his home, that was much more reasonable and willing to discount for the cause. Now almost half of the golf and dinner goes toward Alzheimer's research.
So you can help by donating to the cause in the links above, or you can attend the event, which sounds like it would be a great time. As an additional bonus, I was able to interview some of Coach Dykes' former players, J Frederick, Cody McGuire, Rodney Blackshear, and Keith Cockrum, via email about Coach Dykes. You may not know all of these former player names, but obviously Coach Dykes left an indelible mark on them as human beings.
I hope you enjoy
1. Obviously, Coach Dykes has made an incredible impact on you as an individual as you continue to support his fight against Alzheimer's Disease, but what specifically is it about Coach Dykes that makes you want to continue to help?
J Frederick: As the primary caregiver for Sharon, Coach Dykes had been fighting Alzheimer's disease on his own for some time. Not until recently did we learn that Sharon had the disease for many years, and had even lost her vision toward the end.
Unimaginable that Coach and the Dykes family cared for her all those years without many of us even knowing about it. Alzheimer's is a terrible disease and robs you of so much more than just your memory.
When we learned that Sharon had passed away in late 2010, we thought we'd just get a group of Tech players together and go down to his place in Marble Falls for some golf and BBQ. As plans progressed, we called the local Texas Capital chapter of the Alzheimer's Association and Debbie Hanna there connected us with Rita Hortenstine in Dallas.
They told us about their efforts creating the Texas Alzheimer's Research Consortium and how Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and four other institutions were going to be sharing their research through TARC. They also told us about Coach Royal's family's decision to go public with his diagnosis. Before we knew it, we were a 501c3 with The Dallas Foundation and the Spike Dykes Charity Fund was born.
It all started as just a nice gesture to honor Coach and Sharon, but has grown into something bigger. We've never planned an event, but are doing our best do the right thing on behalf of the Dykes family and Texas Tech, all benefiting Alzheimer's disease research in Texas. We feel blessed and honored to be able to do it.
Cody McGuire: Coach Dykes cares about his players and people in general. He has done so much to help other people and many of his former players. J., Jerrod Fiebiger and myself were hanging out at J’s house about a year and half ago and we came up with this idea to have an ex-player’s reunion. We wanted to do something fun and first class for the players and Coach Dykes but we also wanted to do something nice for Coach Dykes and his family. That is where the Alzheimer’s association came in. Alzheimer’s is a terrible disease and we decided to raise money for the Alzheimer’s association through our reunion in honor of Sharon Dykes Spike’s wife. J. has done an unbelievable job of contacting people and meeting with people to make sure this event is first class and that the Alzheimer’s Association will benefit from our event. We want to continue to help because Spike has a great big heart for people and his former players.
Rodney Blackshear: One of the reasons teammates like James Gray, Eddy Anderson, Eric Everett and Lemuel Stinson are attending the event is because of the great influence Coach had on as young men and the life lessons he taught us. Coach Dykes helped mold me from a boy to becoming a man, both on and off the field. As a coach and educator now a lot of the stories and life lessons he taught me, I am applying today with my players.
Keith Cockrum: I think most players who played under Spike realized that he cared and wanted the best for each player whether they were an All-American or a bench warmer. He and the other coaches had to make tough decisions on what is best for the team but I felt he always did it in a manner that was fair to the players. As one of the many walk-on's from our class that ended up playing I think we were all grateful for that.
More after the jump.
2. Can you share your favorite story about Coach Dykes?
JF: Coach has been quoted so many times and has so many famous sayings he could fill a book. Most people are attracted to and remember Coach Dykes the character. Personally, I remember one practice in particular that I felt had been one of my best at Tech. I was in no way a great player nor played a lot on Saturdays, but that day made a bunch of good plays. But then I felt like no one noticed. After practice, on the way up the tunnel, Coach Dykes stopped me and told me. Meant a lot, and still does.
CM: My favorite story about coach Dykes occurred the night before we were going to play Penn State at Penn State. We were in our team meeting when coach Dykes got up to talk to us before we went to our rooms for the night. He said "this game was no different than Crane vs McCamey on any given Friday night." I am from Crane and McCamey was our rival back in the day. It was awesome to hear that before my first college start.
RB: My favorite Spike story is when he did my home recruiting visit back in 1987 my Mom cooked a huge dinner. Coach was on his 3rd visit of the night and he told my Mom that Sharon had him on a diet so he wouldn't eat but a small helping. Well after eating all of his food and as we were getting into the selling part of the visit Coach noticed that my Mom hadn't eaten all of her food. Her asked very politely " Ms. Blackshear are you going to be eating the rest of your food?" When my mom said no he proceeded eating what she had left over as well as everyone else's leftovers while stating "Sharon has me on a diet but my Momma and Daddy taught me to take all you eat but eat all you take and just can't bear to let this good cooking go to waste!" Needless to say my Mom was sold on Coach Dykes from that moment forward and I eventually became a Red Raider because of it.
KC: During spring practice we would often run the scrimmage against the offense until someone got hurt, a fight would break out, or the coaches were satisfied we were exhausted. So the light went off in the head of two unnamed offensive/defensive linemen that if they could fake a fight that there was a good chance that the drill would end and we could take a break. After about twenty minutes of scrimmage, they start acting like they were fighting and pushing each other around. Everyone stopped and looked to Spike to break them up and call off the drill. I don't know how Spike smelled a rat, but he did. He told everyone to get in a circle and let those two guys (who were best friends) to fight it out. Their Oscar winning fight performance quickly petered out and it became apparent that they had staged it all. I think he made us all roll down the field until we were sick to teach us a lesson.
3. Lots of folks want to know what former players think about the current coaches and team (or at least I do). What is your current assessment of the team and what do you see as the eventual outcome this year?
JF: College football is a roller coaster. And the Big 12 is one of the most competitive and talented conferences in the nation. Texas Tech will always be competitive and will win big games because of the type of players and coaches it attracts. People with a lot of fight. Seth Doege actually played a few years in Cody and my hometown in West Texas. My mom actually taught him in school. She and I are big fans and will be watching him give his best this fall.
CM: I love Texas Tech University and the players that sacrifice so much to play collegiate sports for Texas Tech. I want the players to know that all the ex-players are pulling for them no matter what.
RB: As a former Raider I am cautiously optimistic about the current state of the team this year. I expect Coach Tuberville and his staff to have a breakout season with it being his 3rd year in charge of the program and with them having their recruits in place with some game experience. Playing those young guys last year will hopefully pay huge dividends this season. To have a successful season we are going to not only beat the teams that we are favored to be but also have two major upsets this year.
KC: I don't know the current situation well enough to have any great insights. I wish the players and coaches the best, and if I can support them in anyway I will.
Thank you to J, Cody, Rodney and Keith for taking the time to answer some questions and help with a terrific cause.