BERKELEY In the increasingly offense-minded Pacific-12 Conference, Cal will move forward with new coach Sonny Dykes, whose Louisiana Tech team led the nation in scoring this season.
Dykes, 43, was hired Wednesday after a 15-day search to replace Jeff Tedford, the Bears' all-time winningest coach, who was fired following a 3-9 season. He will be introduced today at a 2 p.m. news conference.
"Sonny Dykes is one of the brightest offensive minds in the country, running a high-octane style of football, one that I'm certain will allow our student-athletes to thrive and that our community will love on game day," athletic director Sandy Barbour said in a statement.
"However, it was far more than his history of a top-ranked offense and his proven success on the football field that solidified my decision; it was the way he described his responsibility to the university at large and his commitment to creating a climate of comprehensive excellence and success for his student-athletes."
This year, Dykes led Louisiana Tech to a 9-3 record that included road wins over Illinois and Virginia and a 59-57 loss to Texas A&M. The Bulldogs averaged a nation-leading 51.5 points and ranked second in yards per game with 577.9. In three seasons at Louisiana Tech, Dykes had a 22-15 record.
"Our objectives are numerous," Dykes said in a release from Cal announcing his hiring. "In addition to winning football games, we will strive to develop the total student-athlete in the classroom, on the field of play and in the campus and local communities. We want a win-everywhere mentality."
Louisiana Tech was offered a spot in the Independence Bowl on Saturday but wanted to wait before accepting in case a better bid came along. The Independence Bowl instead took Ohio, and the Bulldogs were left out when Northern Illinois got into the Orange Bowl, knocking Oklahoma out of the BCS.
Throughout the search process, involving a variety of names, Dykes seemed to be a constant. Cal is believed to have made an effort to lure Boise State's Chris Petersen, who apparently will stay put. San Jose State's Mike MacIntyre also was interviewed.
A key for Dykes will be hiring a strong defensive coordinator to go with his prolific offense. Louisiana Tech finished last nationally in total defense, allowing 40 points or more five times, including in season-ending losses to Western Athletic Conference rivals Utah State and San Jose State.
Born in Big Spring, Texas, Dykes is the son of longtime Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes. He played baseball and football at Texas Tech and earned a master's degree from Kentucky.
His coaching résumé includes stops as an assistant at Kentucky, Texas Tech and Arizona. At Texas Tech, he mentored under current Washington State coach Mike Leach. Dykes spent three seasons as offensive coordinator at Arizona before taking the Louisiana Tech job, his first as a head coach.
Unlike Tedford, who arrived in Berkeley as a passing guru who favored the pro-style game, Dykes favors a spread attack with multiple wide receivers.
Dykes will not have one significant weapon. Keenan Allen, Cal's all-time leading receiver, announced Wednesday he will skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
One of Dykes' biggest tasks will be developing a new starting quarterback. Zach Kline is expected to challenge Allan Bridgford, who started the final two games this season after senior Zach Maynard injured his knee.