Regardless of the final score at tonight's San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Sonny Dykes is Wednesday's biggest winner. Louisiana Tech gave Dykes a contract extension through 2017, per LaTechSports.com amid building buzz for his candidacy as Kevin Sumlin's replacement at Houston. Dykes coached La. Tech to an outright Western Athletic Conference championship just two years after leaving Arizona's offensive coordinator post for the job.
Dykes came to Tucson in 2007, replacing Mike Canales and bringing with him from Texas Tech a high tempo, passing oriented offesne unlike anything ever before experienced at UA. It's no coincidence that the two starters to play in Dykes' system, Willie Tuitama and Nick Foles, shattered Wildcat passing records and each left the program regarded as UA's all-time greatest quarterback.
The first signs of a similar revolation were evident in Ruston, La. during the Bulldogs' current, seven-game win streak in which Dykes installed Colby Cameron at quarterback. Dykes' past as a wide receivers coach is evident in the play of Quinton Patton, a top 20 nationally ranked target at nearly 95 yards per game.
Sour as it may have ended, the Mike Stoops Era could be down as cultivating a nice coaching tree. The initial buds are coming in nicely, as Dykes is the second former UA assistant to get an early Christmas bonus from his current employer.
In each of two seasons since leaving Tucson for Florida State, the Seminole defense has ranked in the nation's top 20 for points allowed with Stoops as its coordinator. This season, FSU held opponents to 15.2 points (No. 4 in the FBS) and 274.6 yards per game (No. 6). His efforts earned Stoops plenty of attention, most notably as a potential replacement for Ted Roof at Auburn. AU had college football's richest offense coordinator in Gus Malzahn before he accepted the Arkansas State head coaching vacancy, thus it's realistic to speculate the university athletic department was prepared to offer Stoops a hefty salary. The details of what Stoops will receive for staying in Tallahassee have yet to be revealed, but it's equally realistic to suspect there will be no shortage of holiday cheer in his household.
The recent success of UA coaching alumni elsewhere is certainly a positive for the football program and a boost to its profile.