On Thursday afternoon, a memorial service was hosted for former Texas Tech football coach Spike Dykes, who had passed away earlier this week.
The service itself was hosted at the First United Methodist Church at 2 p.m., with the service being televised on the screens at the United Supermarkets Arena, where the reception was held afterwards.
Mike Gustafson, from Lubbock, said he worked as a graduate assistant under Dykes for Strength and Conditioning.
One way to describe Dykes was how he was a man of the people, Gustafson said.
“There was probably nobody better than Coach Dykes at relating to the guy pushing a lawnmower all the way up to the president of the United States,” Gustafson said. “He was absolute, salt of the earth Texan.”
The ground floor of the United Supermarkets Arena was decorated in red and black, with buffet tables and round tables set up from side to side, along with stands displaying pictures of Dykes accompanying pictures displayed on the screens that depicted Dykes throughout his life.
Matt Massey, from Ruston, Louisiana, said he met Dykes when Daniel “Sonny” Dykes was coach at Louisiana Tech University.
Massey said Dykes was a hero to him growing up and he admired how he gave small town players chances to play.
“Coach was always great about, just out of the blue, giving you a call, check on you, see how you were doing,” Massey said.
The service mentioned how Dykes did not use technology a lot, resulting in personal handouts given by him, which is something he believes people do not see often anymore, Massey said.
Bill Snyder, the head football coach of Kansas State University, said he and Dykes got to know one another while they competed, and stayed in constant contact with one another for 18-20 years.
“He was a wonderful football coach because he always did it the right way,” Snyder said, “he always cared about young people and he always did what was best and right for them.”
Dykes was enjoyable as an individual person, Snyder said, as he always smiled and was able to make people feel like they were his best friend.
It is neat how everyone involved with the memorial worked together to have both the service simulcast and reception hosted at the arena, Gustafson said.
“As soon as I had a minute to digest the fact that Coach Dykes had passed,” Gustafson said, “I thought, ‘they better have a bigger room for that funeral’, cause there’re gonna be a lot of people there.”
Dykes set a standard for everyone, with his legacy being the ability to make anyone smile even if one did not root for him, Gustafson said.
Dykes was able to use a simplified and common sense approach in his coaching, Massey said, which can be seen in Dyke’s one-liners.
“Everybody’s here like this to celebrate him and to remember,” Massey said, “just remember all the times you have been around him you know? I think his spirit will definitely live on.”