FANtanista Zone reaches behind the bench and interviews Kate Dykes, wife of Sonny Dykes, Head Coach at the University of California – Berkley. Kate’s grandfather, father and brother were all football coaches. She wanted to be a sideline reporter but fell in love with none other than a football coach!
How did you meet your husband? “Our families knew each other and I was working in the SID’s (Sports Information Director’s) office. I was writing a story and Sonny asked someone, ‘Who is that gal, I need to get her number?’ I was done with school that summer and saw him when I was in Lubbock. He said he was going to find me a job and that is when I snagged him. I moved to Houston for a year, moved back to Lubbock and got married. That started the journey.”
Your passion: “Our biggest passion is our players. They are more than just players to us; it is more of a family deal. We enjoy cooking for the players, having them around our family and kids; they are a part of our family. We also enjoy supporting the University. The students and players are important to us now and on Saturday. We take a lot of pride in this.
We are also very passionate about the Boy’s and Girl’s Club. We were both members when we were little and I have a women’s fundraiser for them. It is called, ‘Pigskin and Pearls.’ We started this at Louisiana Tech and put a Southern twist to it. Now we are doing it here. It is a women’s clinic where we have a dinner, the players, the coaches, cheerleaders and dance team. We have all items donated. Every dime goes to the Oakland Boy’s and Girl’s Club.”
A memorable moment from college football: “I have two to share. One of my all time favorite games to-date was when we were at the University of Arizona. Sonny was a Coordinator and Mike Stoops was the Head Coach. We were playing USC in the Coliseum. It had been a struggle; we were down to USC and drove the ball 98 yards to win the game in the last second. Everyone in that stadium went silent. I was so happy for Mike! He deserved it! For so many years he had so much pressure. It was a great win.
My second memory occurred during our second year at Louisiana Tech. We started off 1 and 4. Our kids were the greatest kids who fought every game and never gave up. The 6th game we won and then won the rest. We defeated Nevada for the WAC title, it was an exciting game. I was jumping up and down; it was the greatest experience for these kids. On the entire offense we only had one player who was offered a Division I scholarship. We played 5 walk-ons. It was a great game!”
What do you enjoy most about college football? “I enjoy the fact it allows you to be a part of something and care for something beyond yourself. There are others who depend on you and your actions.”
What do you enjoy least about college football? “It can be a catch 22. We are all very grateful, blessed and thankful to have all we have. College football is so money motivated now. It is a business and I understand that but sometimes we need to understand they are kids too who want to enjoy a sport while receiving an education. It is such a big business now.”
Your life defining moment: “When I was younger my parents were the hardest working people I knew and were incredible role models. Before my father coached they owned a store and we lived in West Texas. They closed the store and my father went back to school to get a coach’s certificate. They both had three jobs and our lives never changed. Today everything is so materialized; we were not consumed by that. It was more about relations. It was a hard struggle for them and it was the greatest gift they could have given to us. We found out what life was all about.
Another time that changed me would be when I became a mother. Now that I am a coach’s wife I realize how big of a decision it is for a mother to send their child to college. Being a mother I can now understand the magnitude of that decision. We play such a big role in the lives of their children. I have learned to never say never. I will never do that; don’t say never until you are a mom.”
First thing you do in the morning: “I wake up and make Sonny and I coffee. It is my favorite time. We have a cup of coffee together and then he is out the door. It is the only way I get to keep him for 5 more minutes!”
What are you looking forward to this college football season? “I don’t really know what to expect because it is our first season here. Half of our staff is from Louisiana Tech which is nice and the new coaches are just awesome and incredible. I am excited for the season and feel very lucky to be here. I look forward to learning the traditions. We have an incredible living alumni base. These people love the Bears!”
Your game day fashion: “I usually dress up in school colors. It is the one day I try to look presentable. I enjoy always having matching outfits for our girls; we can get away with it now since they are young.”
Motto you live by: “’Happiness is a choice.’ There are days that are frustrating but at the end of the day I choose to be happy. We have healthy kids, an awesome university and people who are supporting us here.”
Special event you do with your players: “We have ‘Cookie Night’ here. Every Tuesday night we have ‘Cookie Night’ for our players. We have the team, scout team and video assistants. Tuesday night after the team breaks down, the players rush over to our table which is set up with bags of cookies. Sometimes the players even begin to search for certain cookies they have had before. It is nice because it gets all the families to the stadium Tuesday evening. Sometimes it looks like a daycare with young kids running everywhere. It is nice to have the players around the kids. It does mean something to these players; it’s the environment they love. We are all family. The other thing I enjoy doing is dinner during the season every week if we win. After a win, I cook for a different position depending on whatever position practiced or played the most. My husband will choose which position is invited and sometimes they even fight over it. They are told Wednesday night after practice. I make chicken spaghetti and have a great green bean recipe. I also have a dessert which I make in the fall which they really enjoy. I will share them with K.Mac’s Test Kitchen.”