Dykes grateful for opportunities provided by JCJC
Written By: Shawn Wansley
Email Address: email@example.com
Date Submitted: 2011-09-23 09:29:56
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – Parker Dykes credits Jones County Junior College with providing him a foundation for success for his entire life.
“Jones gave me a chance,” he said on Thursday morning. “They helped make me what I am today. I am just tremendously grateful for the opportunity Jones Junior College gave me.”
Dykes, who played football in 1961-62 at JCJC and then served as head coach of the Bobcats from 1992-2005, has been chosen to be a part of the Class of 2011 of the Bobcat Sports Hall of Fame.
Dykes, along with Dale Crowder, Elmer Higginbotham, Wilmer Dennis and Kenneth Schulte, will be inducted in a ceremony at 5 p.m. on Saturday during a banquet in A.B. Howard Gymnasium. The inductees will then be honored as honorary captains for the 7:30 p.m. football game against Co-Lin Community College that evening and will be recognized again at halftime.
Dykes came to JCJC from Bay Springs High School and played on head coach Sim Cooley’s first team in 1961.
“Coach Cooley gave me a chance,” Dykes said. “I was one of 33 players to make the squad and that was a miracle. I was undersized, not very strong and did not have very much athletic ability.
“But I was able to make the team and that meant everything to me.”
Dykes remembers several things from those early days, including some tough practices.
“We had a guy named O.B. Smiley, an All-American from South Carolina,” he said. “He was about 6-2, 245 and looked like a giant. I was about 6 feet, 180 pounds. We did a ‘board’ drill every day and everybody was terrified to go up against O.B.
“The first time I went up against him, he almost killed me. But after that, I was able to hold my own against him. So, O.B. Smiley introduced me to the world of junior college football.”
Dykes also remembers the first game he ever played at JCJC – a lengthy road trip to Northwest.
“That was the first road trip I had ever been on,” he said. “We had an All-American tight end named Dave Brockmyer. On the opening kickoff, Northwest sent ten guys right after him and knocked him out of the game.
“He could not play any more that day and we lost (8-6).”
The Co-Lin series was also a special rivalry for Dykes.
“I went to Magee schools in grades 7-10,” he said. “So, a lot of the guys I knew from Magee ended up at Co-Lin and I got to play against them. That was special, too.”
Dykes was Honorable Mention All-State in 1962 and was selected to play in the Junior College East/West All-Star Game.
He attended Mississippi College after graduating from JCJC. He received the Dana X. Bible Outstanding Blocker Award and was president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at MC.
He began his coaching career as an assistant at Forest High School from 1965-67. He was head football coach, head track coach and athletic director at Ackerman High School from 1968-69 and at Monticello High School from 1970-71.
Dykes served as a graduate assistant with the offensive line at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1972 and was the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach at Arkansas State University from 1973-79. ASU won the Southland Conference in 1975 and 1978, posting a 12-0 record and No. 18 final national ranking in 1975.
Dykes then became the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach at the University of Richmond from 1980-81.
He worked in private business from 1982-86 before returning to the sidelines as defensive coordinator at Hinds Community College from 1987-91. While at Hinds, Dykes helped coach five South Division and one state championship team.
He returned to JCJC in 1992, where his teams posted a 92-50-1 record over his 14 years as head coach. In 1998, the Bobcats went 12-0 and were named national champions by Mike Gottfried’s Gridiron Magazine. They won state titles in 1998 and 2002 and appeared in four bowl games. In 1998, he was named Coach of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Coaches, the MACJC and the All-American Football Foundation.
“I always wanted to come back to Jones and coach,” said Dykes. “I thought Coach Cooley was going to live forever. But I was fortunate enough to come back here and I had a good relationship with Coach Cooley. (School President) Dr. (Terrell) Tisdale and the Board of Trustees hired me and it was just a dream come true for me.
“I just wanted to help Jones be in the forefront in football in the state of Mississippi and in the entire United States. We relied on our district schools a lot and I was always appreciative to the high school coaches in our area.
“I enjoyed my time as head coach and working with Dr. Tisdale and (president) Dr. (Ronald) Whitehead.”
Dykes noted his relationship with team chaplain Larry Goff and team doctor John McGraw during his tenure at JCJC.
“They were my two best friends,” he said. “Dr. McGraw left to go to Tennessee and Larry passed away. They were both so special to me.”
After leaving JCJC following the 2005 season, Dykes went to Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tenn., as Director of Football Operations and defensive line coach in 2006-07 for head coach Ken Sparks.
“That just happened to be where Dr. McGraw went,” said Dykes. “I had developed a friendship with Ken Sparks over the years through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Dr. McGraw helped talk me in to going up there.”
In 2007-08, Dykes was part-time Associate Director of the Football Coaches Ministry of the FCA and was a part-time scout for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League.
He became defensive coordinator at Sylva-Bay Academy in Bay Springs in 2008 and became defensive coordinator at Jefferson County High School in Tennessee for the 2009-10 seasons.
He is not coaching this fall.
“I miss it up to a certain point,” he said. “But I’m just enjoying life as much as I can.”
He was elected to the NJCAA Hall of Fame in 2005, served as president of the National Junior College Football Coaches Association from 2001-03 and the American Community Colleges Football Coaches Association in 2004. He received the FCA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005.
He began the annual reunion of the 1961-63 Bobcat football teams, sponsors a scholarship in the honor Freydis Thigpen Dykes and is a member of the JCJC Alumni Association and Bobcat Club.
This weekend will be the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Bobcat team and Dykes said that group is quite special.
“Six of us started having a reunion about five years ago,” he said. “We had one earlier this year in Gatlinburg, (Tenn.), and had a real good turnout. About ten of those 33 players have passed on, but we had over 20 players come for the reunion. We have guys from Texas, Michigan, Iowa, South Carolina, Tennessee and all over.
“We are real close and the unique thing is we are all still married to our first wife. That’s kind of special.”
Dykes said his selection to the Bobcat Sports Hall of Fame is a tribute to all of those players from those teams from the early 1960s. That group will be having their own reunion luncheon on Saturday.
“I am real proud of all of those guys and I know a lot of them will be here,” he said. “This award includes them as well as me. They pushed me and encouraged me and we all bonded at Jones.
“We all went on to senior college, got our degrees and had success in life.”
Dykes and his wife, Jane, have three children and six grandchildren.
Dykes added that his wife, Jane, is a former Miss Co-Lin. So, he hopes the Bobcats can pull out a victory against the Wolves on Saturday.
“The Co-Lin game always had a little extra motivation for me,” he laughed.
Bobcat Sports Hall of Fame
Class of 2007 – Sim Cooley, Joe Flowers, A.B. Howard
Class of 2008 – Randall Boone, John Perkins, Gene Tullos
Class of 2009 – Gwen Magee, L.D. Ready, Jerry “Sally” Smith, Aubrey Wade, Patricia Waldrup
Class of 2010 – Mike McClellan, Carlos McDaniel, Dr. Joe-Michael Robertson