Sources: Cal's Sonny Dykes to draw focus of Baylor's coaching search

ByMark Schlabach ESPN logo
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Baylorofficials are expected to focus their search for a new football coach on California's Sonny Dykes, after SMU's Chad Morris elected to remain with the Mustangs on Tuesday, according to sources close to the search.

Morris, who is 7-17 in two seasons at SMU, was considered a top candidate to replace former Baylor coach Art Briles, who was fired in May after an independent investigation by the law firm Pepper Hamilton criticized the university's handling of sexual assault allegations involving students, including football players.

The Dallas Morning News, citing unnamed sources, reported on Tuesday night that SMU officials have been working on a contract extension for Morris for the past three months to increase his compensation package relative to the current market. The newspaper reported that Morris' new deal, which will run through the 2022 season, is expected to include a raise for Morris and $1.5 million more for his assistants.

Morris, 47, was Clemson's offensive coordinator from 2011 to '14, before he was hired as SMU's coach in December 2014. His original deal was a six-year contract worth about $2 million annually. The Mustangs went 5-7 this past season.

Dykes, 47, has a 19-30 record in four seasons at California, including a 5-7 mark this past season. The Bears went 8-5 in 2015 and quarterback Jared Goff was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams.

Dykes had a 22-15 record in three seasons at Louisiana Tech from 2010 to '12. He is 41-45 as a head coach overall.

A native of Big Spring, Texas, Dykes is the son of legendary Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes. He played baseball at Texas Tech and worked as a football assistant coach at Kentucky and Northeast Louisiana before joining the Red Raiders' staff in 2000.

Because of Dykes' connections to Texas, he is also considered a potential candidate at Houston, which is seeking a replacement for former coach Tom Herman, who was named Texas' new coach on Saturday.

A disciple of former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme, Dykes runs a high-octane version of the "Air Raid" offense. This past season, the Bears ranked third in the FBS in passing (358.8 yards), 11th in total offense (513.2 yards) and 24th in scoring (37.1 points).

But the Bears also ranked next to last in the FBS in scoring defense (42.6 points) and 125th in total defense (518.3 yards). Cal allowed 45 points or more in each of its seven losses.

Baylor acting coach Jim Grobe announced on Monday that he advised athletic director Mack Rhoades earlier this year that he would step down after the 2016 season and didn't want to be considered for the job. Grobe has guided the Bears to a 6-5 record; they've lost five consecutive games going into Saturday's regular-season finale at No. 16 West Virginia.

Former San Francisco 49ers coach and ex-Baylor All-American linebacker Mike Singletary and Arkansas State's Blake Anderson are also believed to be candidates for the job.