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1989's Season Review - An Addendum

I'd like to thank DTN reader vinny61 for adding to A Texas Tech Football Season In Review: 1989. Vinny lived through that season and I thought that his comments would better served on the front page, especially since my frame of reference, or history of the program, is so limited. I responded to vinny61 in the post itself and thanked him there for commenting.

1989 Season in Review

I'd like to make a few comments about your take on the 1989 season.

I don't know if anyone else remembers this, but my recollection is that both the UT and A&M wins were a result of late, long touchdown passes by Jamie Gill in something like 3rd and 26 situations. (Strangely enough, I still remember Brent Musberger calling the Ohio State game in the following season and quoting the media guide about Tech's third and long touchdown passes.) Those two plays-- and the running of James Gray-- and the bowl win-- made the season.

James Gray was a great football player, and even more, a solid person. He's still one of my all time favorites at Tech.

At the time, the victory over Duke was Tech's first bowl win since 1973.

I think it is an overstatement to say Coach Dykes' longevity at Tech was the result of this one season. You hit it on the head when you mentioned Dykes' responsibility for a turnaround in Tech football. Here, in my view, is the significance of Dykes' tenure:

  1. He restored stablility and respectability to the program after the mostly poor years of Rex Dockery, the truly awful years of Jerry Moore, and the David McWilliams fiasco. This was a major program turnaround.
  2. He made Tech a consistent winner again. Tech was never really an upper eschelon team, but for a long time we were a consistent winner and a regular in second tier bowl appearances. But for most of the 80s, until Dykes took over, we were bona fide losers. Those 6-6 teams that you label as mediocre were 6-5 regular season teams with a bowl loss. Maybe we're splitting hairs on the mediocrity issue, but at least with Dykes we always went into a season with some hope and the likelihood of a few quality wins. That was a lot after the long dry spell.
  3. Check the record-- Dykes was the first coach we had who beat UT and A&M on a fairly regular basis. I think I'm pretty sound in this claim, but we had more wins against those two teams during Dykes tenure than we ever had before. For the Tech program, this was a significant achievement. Admittedly, UT had some rough years during this time, but that shouldn't diminish Dykes' accomplishment. (By the way, Dykes has a better conference winning percentage than Leach. Ok, I know we're talking SWC versus Big 12, but hey, it's something.)
  4. Finally, he was a heck of a likeable guy, genuine, good with the media, and a great fit for the Texas Tech community.

I think you touched on it, but I would reiterate that Dykes set the stage for Leach and can claim a good deal of the foundational credit for where the program is today. Thanks for letting me have a say.

Vinny from Dumas
TTU '84 (the lean years)

Thanks again vinny61.

By the way, the year 1974 is up for Monday and I picked that season for no other reason than it was the year of my birth.