FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes was hired as the women’s basketball coach at Arkansas on Sunday, his first college coaching job in more than 20 years.
He has deep roots in the area and succeeds Tom Collen, who was fired this month after going 132-90 in seven seasons and reaching the NCAA tournament just once in seven seasons.
Dykes hasn’t coached since he was an assistant under Eddie Sutton at Oklahoma State from 1990-91. He played at Arkansas and graduated from the school. He later was an assistant there under Sutton.
He becomes the eighth women’s coach at Arkansas. He inherits a team that went 19-11 this season, including 6-10 in the Southeastern Conference. The Razorbacks lost in the first round of the conference tournament for the eighth time in nine seasons.
The 52-year-old Dykes has not coached women’s basketball before, but athletic director Jeff Long called him the ”best leader for our women’s program.”
”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,” Long said in a statement.
Dykes also coached at Sacramento State, Appalachian State, Kentucky and Arkansas-Little Rock before working as an NBA scout from 1991-93.
Collen was hired by Arkansas after successful stints at Colorado State and Louisville. It was hoped he would rekindle excitement around a team that had largely foundered since former coach Gary Blair left for Texas A&M in 2003. Collen’s teams, however, struggled in the difficult SEC, finishing 40-68 in league play.
Dykes is returning to familiar ground. In addition to his jobs at Arkansas and Arkansas-Little Rock, he was the high school athletic director at Shiloh Christian in Springdale. He attended high school at Fayetteville and lived in the area while working as a TV analyst.