Hawgs Illustrated has learned that former Razorback basketball player and college assistant coach and current ESPN broadcaster Jimmy Dykes has been named the new head coach of the Arkansas' women's basketball team.
The 52-year-old Dykes was an assistant for Eddie Sutton at Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State and also had assistant coaching stints at Appalachian State, Sacramento State and UALR.
"It's a great day in my life," Dykes said in an interview with ESPN Sunday afternoon. "I think any time a former player has a chance to give back to their university in some form or fashion, you ears perk up a little bit.
"When Arkansas reached out to be and we started having conversation and really engaged this week and I had a lot of interest because...I love the game. I see basketball. I love the women's game.
"...It's a chance for me to do something for the University of Arkansas, which is so dear to my heart that I don't think anyone else else could do as well as I have the ability to do," Dykes continued. "They love the Razorbacks in this state and that's the uniqueness that this state has."
Dykes, who reportedly is signing a four-year deal, confirmed the hire in a text to Hawgs Illustrated early Sunday morning and will be formally introduced at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday night at Bud Walton Arena.
He will meet with his team right before that.
"I am going to tell our team later on tonight when I meet with them for the first time that we now have accountability for how we conduct ourselves, how we play, how we go about our day-to-day detail has gone to a whole another level.
"I am stepping into the most dominant conference in the women's game," Dykes continued. "I know that. The challenge is great. But I can not be more thrilled to be doing what I am doing."
Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long announced the hire and noted he was thrilled with being able to land Dykes.
"After meeting with him and discussing our program, it was clear to me that Jimmy Dykes is not only the best leader for our women's basketball program, but also the best coach for the student-athletes in our program," Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long said in a statement. "I have known Jimmy for many years but learned of his passion and commitment to his alma mater, the University of Arkansas, when I arrived on campus.
" I have always respected his tremendous basketball knowledge and his understanding of the game, but as I got to know Jimmy better, l became aware of his strong coaching background including his tenures at some of the nation's top college basketball programs," Long added.
"Jimmy's coaching pedigree working with some of the best coaches in the business, combined with his ability to teach the game of basketball, made him the clear choice as the head women's basketball coach at the University of Arkansas," Long continued.
Dykes, who played for Sutton and graduated in 1985, is replacing Tom Collen, who was let go after seven years and a record of 132-90 overall and 40-68 in SEC play.
The Arkansas women finished 19-11 this season and had only one winning season in conference action and just one trip to the NCAA Tournament in that time.
Dykes, who has been with ESPN since 1995, also served as a scout for the Seattle SuperSonics and was an athletic director at Shiloh Christian in 2006 when he hired current Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn.
Dykes has never coached in the women's game, but says his research as a broadcaster in covering the women's game the last 15 year has been of great benefit to him.
"I prepared for it as a coach would for all those games," Dykes said. "There is a scouting report that I did with both ball teams. During the game you are coaching on the air so you are out in front of it. You are talking about decisions, you are talking about foul trouble - all those things on the fly that you have to be out in front of. In my mind I have been a coach for the last 15 years.
"I have coached at the highest level at Kentucky as an assistant, at Arkansas and Oklahoma State, scouting the NBA so I have seen it all," Dykes continued. "Now the transition for me is to start teaching the game to 15 young ladies, hopefully with the passion with that I brought it with as an analyst."
He acknowledges there will be some things to catch up on.h the passion with that I brought it with as an analyst."h the passion with that I brought it with as an analyst."
"I have to get my arms wrapped around all the recruiting rules and the dead period and all that stuff, but that will come," Dykes said. "But the most important part of my day will be igniting this fan base and hopefully I ignite the fan base of college women's basketball across the nation. I am hoping to send a positive message about the state of the women's game right now."
Asked what kind of team Arkansas women's fans should expect, Dykes went to one of his signature sayings.
"They are passing out t-shirts tonight that say 'we will guard them hard and be hard to guard' so I am hoping that is what we are going to be," Dykes said. "But until we start having our workouts and watching drills, I would be wrong to say that we are going to run this offense or ball screen, but I can tell you this - the basketball is going to be moving."
Per his ESPN biio, Dykes began his ESPN career in 1995-96 and has recently called primarily the SEC Super Tuesday games as well as the Maui Invitational and serving as a in-studio analyst.
He has also been an analyst for the NCAA Women's Championship, and served as a college football sideline reporter from 2004-08. Over the past 15 years, he has been a part of such events as the WNBA Playoffs, Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest and ESPN's Great Outdoor Games.
A native of Tulsa, Okla., Dykes was a standout multi-sport athlete Estes Park, Colo., High School and Fayetteville High School. He was named to People Magazine's "America's Top 50 Bachelors" list in 2001.
Dykes is married to the former Tiffany Beasley, a 2003 graduate of Arkansas and former Razorback cheerleader.
They have one daughter, Kennedy, who was born in 2005.
Jeff Long, immy Dykes
Dykes Hired As Arkansas Women's Coach
Hawgs Daily Top Stories
Scout On the Road: SeptemberScout takes a look at some of the top prospects we saw in person during the month of September...
Scout FootballYesterday at 2:00 PM
Longhorns Preview Oklahoma StateTexas offensive players discuss the Longhorns' upcoming game at Oklahoma State to kickoff Big 12 Conference play.
Horns DigestMonday at 6:21 PM
Louisiana CB 'Real Close' to a DecisionIt may not be too long before one of the top cornerbacks in Louisiana makes his decision. Four schools are high on his list and you can get the latest here...
Scout FootballMonday at 6:15 AM
JC defensive back talks ISU official visitOver the weekend, Iowa State played host to one of their top 2017 targets in the current recruiting cycle in Paramount, CA three-star JUCO CB Keisean Nixon. This visit for the…
AllCyclonesSunday at 6:34 PM