By Jamie Plunkett
Frogs Today staff writer
Jeremiah Donati stepped up to the podium, looked out over the packed Legends Club & Suites in Amon G. Carter Stadium, and smiled. Then, he introduced the 31st football coach of the TCU Horned Frogs, Sonny Dykes.
“He was far and away the best fit for TCU football and the university,” Donati, the athletic director, said at the time.
It has been exactly one year since Dykes arrived via helicopter at midfield, a day that left most Frogs fans feeling cautiously optimistic and others skeptical about the man Donati and the TCU Board of Trustees had selected to follow in Gary Patterson’s footsteps.
The public search for a new coach lasted less than a month, with TCU and Patterson parting ways on Halloween, but Donati knew the Frogs had to move quickly to find a replacement.
He and the board worked with a recruiting firm to seek out the best candidates for the position: Dykes at SMU, Iowa State coach Matt Campbell, then-Louisiana Lafayette coach Billy Napier, Jackson State coach Deion Sanders and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore all made the list, and all were interviewed.
As the process moved along, though, Dykes began to separate himself. He checked all the boxes Donati and the board were looking for.
Dykes served as a college coach three times, at Louisiana Tech, Cal and SMU. He has significant Texas ties. He is an offense-minded coach.
Other priorities were also clear: A focus on recruiting DFW, a common-sense approach to the transfer portal and Name, Image and Likeness, a cutting-edge strength and conditioning coach, a player-first culture, and competing for championships.