TCU coach Sonny Dykes is receiving a contract extension -- and a raise -- through 2028 after guiding the Horned Frogs to the College Football Playoff in his first season on the job, according to multiple reports. Dykes, 53, took over a program that finished 5-7 (3-6 Big 12) last season and guided it to an undefeated regular season before the Horned Frogs lost an overtime heartbreaker to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game.
Despite the conference title loss, the Horned Frogs earned the No. 3 spot in the final CFP Rankings and will face No. 2 Michigan on Dec. 31 in the Fiesta Bowl, which serves as one of this season's playoff semifinals. Dykes was not among the most-celebrated hires of last year's intense coaching carousel, but he's been the most successful. He was the unanimous pick for Big 12 Coach of the Year and is a finalist for Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year honor on the national level.
While landscape-shattering hires like USC coach Lincoln Riley and LSU coach Brian Kelly guided their teams to appearances in league title games, neither broke through to the magnitude that Dykes did this season. The Horned Frogs were picked to finish seventh in the Big 12's preseason media poll and were forced to change quarterbacks early in the season when starter Chandler Morris suffered a sprained knee of the season opener.
Ultimately, veteran quarterback Max Duggan stepped in and executed Dykes' offensive system to near-perfection as TCU rifled through an especially impressive October slate to place themselves in the CFP conversation. The Horned Frogs went 5-0 during the month with four straight victories over opponents who were ranked in the top-20 of the AP Top 25 poll at the time.
Validation of Dykes' ability
Dykes replaced a legend in Gary Patterson, who led the program for 21 seasons. But TCU was just 23-24 over Patterson's final four seasons and seemed to have lost its edge from when it posted three seasons of 11 or more wins a four-year span between 2014-17. That Dykes could restore the program so quickly is a validation of his ability and not something that his track record indicated as particularly likely. In his previous three FBS head coaching stops, Dykes never posted a winning record in his first season.
Though he eventually found success at Louisiana Tech, Cal and SMU, the 2022 season validates Dykes' standing in the profession. Dykes slotted in at No. 35 in CBS Sports' of Power Five coaches as he prepared to make his debut with TCU after five seasons at SMU. It stands to reason that he will be among the biggest risers in next year's ranking.
TCU poised for prominent standing
With Dykes secured as coach, and Oklahoma and Texas departing for the SEC in the 2024 season, TCU is poised for prominence in the revamped Big 12. While the past two league champions -- Baylor and Kansas State -- will remain behind along with a well-established Oklahoma State program and several others, TCU will be at or near the top of league's new pecking order. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF are each joining the league next season but could face an adjustment period like the Horned Frogs did in 2012 and 2013 after leaving the Mountain West to join the Big 12.
With TCU's stadium still gleaming from a $118 million renovation in 2019 and Dykes on the sideline, the future is bright in Fort Worth, Texas. Though Dykes could be sought by other programs, ESPN reported that his raise will put him in the company of the Big 12's highest-paid coaches.