ELLISVILLE – A football legend has passed away.
Former Jones College head coach and player Parker Dykes Sr. died July 1 after an extended illness.
He was 77.
Visitation will be held on Monday July 6, from 5-9 pm at the JCJC Jasper County Center located at 3209 MS-15 in Bay Springs.
Funeral services will be held at the JCJC Jasper County Center Tuesday July 7, at 10 a.m. with a visitation one hour prior to the service.
Jones President Dr. Jesse Smith said Dykes’ name will live on forever at the college.
“Coach Dykes lived his faith,” Smith said. “He brought a power and pathos to Bobcat football that created a lasting legacy in the men coached. He will always be loved and admired for his dedication and love for his faith, family and his players. Our hearts hurt for his family and his former players for their tremendous loss. He was a great American who brought about the best in those he met."
Bobcat Athletic Director Joel Cain played for Dykes and said his former coach accomplished a great deal in life.
“Coach Dykes was a man of faith, loved his family, loved his players and loved Jones College,” Cain said. “The legacy he left behind will continue to influence our Athletic Leadership Program. I am grateful for the many lessons learned from Coach Dykes during my time as a player and staff member. No doubt heaven gained a real ‘bull hooker!’”
Dykes was head coach at Jones from 1992-2005, compiling a 92-50-1 record in 14 seasons.
He guided the Bobcats to a 12-0 record in 1998 and that team was named national champion by Mike Gottfried’s Gridiron Magazine. The Bobcats won the MACJC championship and capped the season with a 42-35 victory over Georgia Military College in the Golden Isles Bowl in Brunswick, Georgia.
In 1998 he was named the Coach of the Year by the MACJC, Mississippi Association of Coaches and the All-American Football Foundation.
Dykes led the Bobcats to conference championships in 1998 and 2001 and four bowl games – the 1992 Texas Shrine Bowl, the 1998 Golden Isles Bowl, the 2002 Heart of Texas Bowl and the 2004 Heart of Texas Bowl.
He coached 26 All-Americans and 12 of his Bobcats went on to play in the National Football League, including Super Bowl XXXIX Most Valuable Player Deion Branch of the New England Patriots and former Green Bay Packers standout Javon Walker.
Anthony Maddox (nicknamed Milkman), who played for Dykes in 1997 and 1998 at Jones and went on to play professionally for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans, praised Dykes for his influence.
“I’m sure my story is like many others,” said Maddox, who later served as an assistant coach at Jones. “Coach Dykes was my mentor, my coach, my friend and father in Christ. It’s a great day. He would always threaten me about running the lake. ‘Great day, Milkman! If you can’t get yourself together, I’m going to send you back to Georgia!’ That was always so funny to me.”
Former Bobcat and New Orleans Saints offensive lineman Daryl Terrell said on Facebook that Dykes was a great leader.
“Coach Parker Dykes Sr. what a “Great Day” your favorite quote. Father Coach Husband Leader on and off the field. Thanks for giving me the chance to play the game of football.”
Ralph Davis, a running back on the 2001 state championship team, posted a heartfelt message on Facebook.
“This man here I love you and will always love you. You changed my life in so many ways and I thank God for you. The blood, sweat, and tears that we shared was well worth it. Coach Parker Dykes Sr. you will be forever missed and Never forgotten. Thank you again for our life time experience at JCJC the best 2 years of my life and the life after JCJC... Our slogan Brother to Brother Life and Death. We are family forever and until we meet again tell momma Dykes I love and miss her as well. #BobcatNationForever LOVE YOU POPS”
Former Bobcat player Damarcus Moody said in a Facebook post that Dykes changed his life.
“Coach your shoes could never be filled, you truly made a Major impact in this world 1 kid at a time! The first man to really show me what family is supposed to be once you leave Mom & Dad1 Discipline, Sacrifices, Loyalty, Consistency, Hardworking, Most of All Being A Servant and A Strong Firm Believer In God! You will forever live in each and Every Bobcats Brother & Sister Rest Up! That one opportunity you gave me, change my direction, and surrounding in my life, you are a Very Big Part Of The Reason I am A Great Man Today 🎯Legacy Will Live Forever Bobcat Nation.”
Tyler Ratcliff, a kicker on the 1998 team, said on Facebook that Dykes made everyone a better person.
“Thank you coach Parker Dykes Sr. For making this team special, everyone affiliated with this team is a better person because of you. RIP and “GREAT DAY” heaven gained a great one.”
After leaving Jones following the 2005 season, Dykes went to Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee, as Director of Football Operations and defensive line coach in 2006-07. In 2007-08, he was part-time Associate Director of the Football Coaches Ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes 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 in 2009.
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 was named to the JC Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Mississippi Community College Sports Hall of Fame in 2012.
He began the annual reunion of the 1961-63 Bobcat football team and sponsored a scholarship in the honor Freydis Thigpen Dykes. He was a proud member of the JCJC Alumni Association and Bobcat Club.
Dykes graduated from Bay Springs High School and headed to Jones to play on head coach Sim Cooley’s first Bobcat team in 1961. He played offensive guard and defensive tackle, 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 Jones. He received the Dana X. Bible Outstanding Blocker Award and was president of the FCA 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 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.