Whether or not UCLA should hire Sonny Dykes as their new football coach is a complex question for many reasons. There are compelling arguments on both sides, and ultimately the decision comes down to UCLA’s specific needs and priorities in their coaching search led by their athletic director Martin Jarmond. Here’s a breakdown of some key points to consider as UCLA begins it’s search to replace Chip Kelly.
Proven track record of success: Dykes has a history of turning around programs and achieving unexpected results. He led TCU to a College Football Playoff appearance in his first season there by winning 13 games before losing to Georgia in the national championship game. He had similar success at Louisiana Tech for example, winning a conference championship in 2011. While his time at Cal was less successful, he did manage to take them to a bowl game in his third season winning eight game there after a 1-win season in year one as the head coach of the Golden Bears. He also lead SMU to a 10 win season in 2019.
Offensive prowess: Dykes is known for his innovative and high-scoring offensive schemes. This could be appealing to UCLA fans who have often craved a more exciting and dynamic offense after some disappointing offensive outputs against Cal and Arizona State at home last season.
Recruiting connections: Dykes has strong ties to Texas, a key recruiting ground for college football. He also coached at Cal prior to coaching in the state of Texas and has recruiting ties there as well. This could help UCLA attract top talent from the high school level, especially on the offensive side of the ball, instead of relying primarily on transfer portal players.
Experience in the Pac-12: Dykes’ previous experience in the Pac-12 with Cal could be valuable, as he understands the conference landscape and its challenges.
Inconsistent results: While Dykes has achieved some impressive successes, his overall record is not without blemishes. He was fired from Cal after four seasons, and his tenure at SMU was solid but not spectacular. He also won only five games three times at Louisiana Tech (2010), Cal (2014), and most recently last season at TCU.
Defensive struggles at times: Dykes’ teams have often struggled defensively, which could be a concern for UCLA. TCU last season for example gave up 35 or more points in four games last season.
The right fit for UCLA: Some fans and experts might question whether Dykes’ personality and coaching style would be a good fit for the unique culture of UCLA. However, he did coach at Cal for four seasons and understands what UCLA is all about.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to hire Sonny Dykes is up to UCLA. Even if they want Dykes to coach the Bruins, they would have to convince him to leave TCU. They will need to weigh the pros and cons carefully and determine if he is the right individual to lead their football program into the future.