Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Heisman Trophy.
Jimmy Dykes returning to ESPN
Arkansas coach Jimmy Dykes watches during a game against Auburn on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE Former Arkansas women's basketball coach Jimmy Dykes is returning to ESPN.
Dykes said Monday that he has signed a three-year contract with the network to be a color analyst, a job he previously held from 1995-2014. He will call men's games on the network and also do some studio work at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Conn., and at the SEC Network headquarters in Charlotte, N.C.
About 80 to 90 percent of his games will involve SEC teams.
"That was my league in the past and that's what I'm most familiar with," Dykes said. "I'm very, very grateful and very thankful; very blessed.
"Going back to ESPN is a natural fit for me and the timing is great."
Dykes, 54, previously was one of ESPN's most recognizable analysts. He left the network in 2014 to accept the head coaching position at Arkansas, his alma mater. Dykes, a Fayetteville native, lives in the area with his wife and daughter.
The Razorbacks went 43-49 in Dykes' three seasons and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2015. He resigned in March after his team finished with a 13-17 record and 11 consecutive losses.
"You view the game differently as a head coach," Dykes said. "My view of the game is probably a little bit sharper because you have to be so detailed...so I think I carry a lot of that back with me.
"I have a better understanding of what head coaches deal with. Hopefully it makes me a better analyst."
Dykes said ESPN contacted him about returning the day after he resigned at Arkansas. His duties will not include calling women's games.
"I'm grateful for them to be bringing me back at a time they've made some pretty major cuts up there," Dykes said, referencing layoffs by the network earlier this year. "I've maintained a great relationship with them."
It's unclear which play-by-play announcer Dykes will work with most in the upcoming season. His longtime partner, Brad Nessler, left ESPN last year to become the lead voice for CBS' college football broadcasts.
"I told them to use me wherever you want to use me," Dykes said. "I don't have an ego about it and I want to be a team player. I'll do whatever they want me to do."
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