The Memphis football team opened up their preseason camp today. Check out some highlights from the first day and hear from junior DB Bobby McCain and head coach Justin Fuente.
Darrell Dickey is in his eighth season overall and fourth in his current stint with the University of Memphis. During the offseason, the Tigers’ offensive coordinator and running backs coach was elevated to assistant head coach. He will continue in his coordinator’s role in 2015, serving as co-offensive coordinator along with coaching the team’s running backs.
Last year Memphis set a season scoring record with 471 points and led the American Athletic Conference with a 36.2 points per game average. The Tigers led the league in rushing offense in 2014, averaging 190.5 yards per game and also ranked third in total offense (427.1 ypg).
Dickey mentored third-year running back Brandon Hayes, who walked on to the Memphis program in 2012 and went on to rush for 2,385 career yards, fourth-most in Memphis school history. Hayes’ 949 rushing yards as a senior in 2014 was the most by a Memphis player since 2009. He was named the Isaac Bruce Offensive Player of the Year for the third straight year.
Also in 2014, Dickey coached Doroland Dorceus, who averaged a team-leading 5.2 yards per carry before being sidelined the fourth game of his sophomore season and oversaw Sam Craft’s transition from receiver to running back in his second year in the program. Craft started two games at running back for the Tigers in 2014, carrying the ball 38 times for 170 yards and a touchdown in a 41-14 win over Cincinnati in the conference opener.
Dickey was part of a coaching staff which led the Tigers to an American Athletic Conference title, the school’s first conference championship since 1971. With a 10-3 record, the Tigers equaled a school record for victories established in 1938. Memphis capped the season with a double-overtime win over BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl.
Dickey, who served as the Tigers’ offensive coordinator from 1986-89, returned to the Memphis program in the same capacity in 2012.
During the 2012 season, Memphis raised its offensive total in conference games from 243 yards per game to 327.1 yards an outing (26 percent increase in yardage from 2011 to 2012). In C-USA games, Memphis raised its rushing offense total by 63 percent.
Overall, the Tigers averaged 318 yards of total offense during Dickey’s first season back as offensive coordinator in 2012. The season total represented a 44-yard improvement from the 2011 season.
Memphis ranked next to last nationally in rushing offense in 2011 but almost doubled its rushing average, improving its rushing total to 151.75 yards per game in 2012.
The student-athletes Dickey mentored in 2012 included Hayes, who did not see playing time until the season’s fourth game and went on to be selected the 2012 Isaac Bruce Offensive Player of the Year award winner.
In Dickey’s first season at the University of Memphis, the Tigers posted a 4-4 mark in Conference USA play, winning more league games in 2012 than the previous three seasons combined. Memphis’ 4-8 overall record marked the team’s best finish since 2008.
The Tigers averaged 313 yards of total offense as the Tigers made the transition to the American Athletic Conference in 2013. Hayes finished the 2013 season with 860 yards and became the first multi-year recipient of the Offensive Player of the Year Award since DeAngelo Williams.
Dickey, who has over 25 years of collegiate coaching experience, was the co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach at Texas State in 2011. Texas State's rushing attack averaged 195 yards a game and scored 20 of the team's 35 offensive touchdowns. The Bobcats finished the season with a 6-6 record and averaged 345 yards of total offense. Against Southeastern Louisiana, Texas State logged 336 yards on 45 carries and three touchdowns. In seven of the 12 games in 2011, the Bobcats tallied at least 200 yards rushing, and the squad registered at least 40 carries in nine games.
Dickey made his move to Texas State after spending two seasons as offensive coordinator and running backs coach at New Mexico. He also served as offensive coordinator at Utah State in 2007-08.
During his tenure at New Mexico, Dickey helped install a new offense that featured Freshman All-America tight end Lucas Reed and some of the most talented newcomers in the Mountain West Conference. The newcomers included wide receiver Ty Kirk and running backs Demond Dennis and Kasey Carrier.
While at Utah State, Dickey's offense produced 1,653 rushing yards in 2008, the school's highest total in nine seasons. In addition, Aggies signal-caller Diondre Borel was one of seven quarterbacks nationally to lead their respective teams in rushing and passing.
Dickey went to Utah State after serving nine years as the North Texas head coach from 1998-2006. He guided the Mean Green to four-consecutive Sun Belt Conference (SBC) championships from 2001-04 with a combined league record of 25- 1. Dickey's overall record in SBC play was 29-11, including a 26-game conference win streak that stretched from 2001- 05. North Texas participated in four-consecutive New Orleans Bowls from 2001-04.
He guided the Mean Green to nine wins for the first time in 23 years in the 2003 season, after winning eight contests a year earlier. In the 2003 New Orleans Bowl, Dickey's squad suffered a 27-17 loss to Memphis at the Louisiana Superdome. The Mean Green also had a 7-5 mark in 2004.
Under his direction, North Texas landed 70 players on All-Sun Belt Conference teams, including 39 first team selections. Dickey was named the head coach of the Sun Belt Conference's 30th Anniversary Team in 2004. Dickey also guided the Mean Green to its first bowl win in 57 years when North Texas defeated Cincinnati in the 2002 New Orleans Bowl. Running back Kevin Galbreath was named the New Orleans Bowl MVP.
North Texas produced back-to-back NCAA rushing leaders in Patrick Cobbs (2003) and Jamario Thomas (2004). Cobbs led the nation with 152.7 yards per game in 2003, and Thomas repeated the feat with 180.1 yards per contest in 2004. In his final season at North Texas, Dickey suffered a heart attack on Oct. 13, 2006, but missed just one game. In a nine-month span, Dickey had his gall bladder removed, was diagnosed with diabetes and suffered a heart attack.
The offensive-minded Dickey went to North Texas after serving as offensive coordinator at SMU in 1997. That season, the Mustangs posted their first winning record since the program returned to the playing field in 1989 following the NCAA "Death Penalty."
He went to SMU after serving as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at UTEP from 1994-96.
Dickey also was a tight ends coach at LSU from 1991-93, during which time the Tigers upset No. 1-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1993. He went to LSU after serving as quarterbacks and running backs coach at Mississippi State in 1990. That season, the Bulldogs beat LSU for the first time in six seasons when running back Tay Galloway ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns.
Dickey was the offensive coordinator at Memphis from 1987-89, after serving one season as Tigers running backs coach in 1986. While at Memphis, the Tigers upset SEC powers Alabama (1987) and Florida (1988). He also served as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M in 1985 when the Aggies won the Southwest Conference title and played in the Cotton Bowl.
Dickey is the son of Jim Dickey, who was head football coach at Kansas State from 1978-85. He played quarterback for his father and led the Wildcats to the 1982 Independence Bowl, the program's first bowl game. He also played in the 1982 Blue-Gray All-Star Game. Dickey graduated from Kansas State in 1983 with a degree in business administration.