There are not many things left in Frank Dykes’ office. There is a half empty coke bottle and a few VSU football t-shirts, but besides that, the office that sits in the corner of the football field house is pretty bare and empty.
Dykes’ run of equipment manager for the VSU football team is over, as he will graduate this December with a degree in Philosophy and Religious Studies and move on from a place that he has called home for the past seven football seasons.
When he arrived in Valdosta as a freshman in 2004, Dykes made his way on to the VSU football team as an equipment manager. That year the Blazers put together a 13-1 season and won the Division II National Championship.
Since 2004, Dykes continued to work with the Blazers as an equipment manager, even being promoted to head equipment manager in 2006.
During his time at VSU, Dykes was part of 66 wins and only 17 losses—the highest winning percentage of any Gulf South Conference team during that span—two conference championships, two national championships and even the designing of the equipment room for the football field house.
“It is a good feeling,” Dykes said. “I did something similar in high school. We didn’t lose much and I have always been part of a winning program. I have expectations of winning in life in general, so with football I have always had higher standards than most. So it is a good feeling to leave here and say I got 66 wins and only 17 losses.”
Now, Dykes is headed to Atlanta, where he will work for a football helmet reconditioning company until his next step comes along, which one day he hopes will be the head equipment manager for a Southeastern Conference or Atlantic Coastal Conference school.
“Next for (me) is a career of doing what I love and enjoy doing and actually getting paid for it,” Dykes said. “Once some (other) jobs pop up, I’ll be able to find a job I love and get paid for it, like my mom always said, but I’d like to see the whole nation and make a few stops along the way.”
As he looked back on his time at VSU, Dykes said linebacker Larry Dean and former offensive lineman Richard Collier top the list of greatest players that took the field for the famed red and black during his seven seasons.
“Larry Dean and I have had this bond, I guess, and his athleticism and his effort to succeed in all that he does both on and off the field, had grounded our friendship,” Dykes said.
“(Larry) is probably one of all my all-time greatest friends that I’ll hold onto, but Richard Collier is one that I would not go without mentioning. But I mean not everyday somebody breaks Jessie Tuggle’s record that has stood for 25 years.”
As he moves on, Dykes said the biggest thing he will take from VSU football is the opportunity that was given to him to get ahead in what he wants to do for the rest of his life.
“I knew I was going to have an opportunity to have a greater chance to get ahead of the game,” Dykes said. “And I knew I was coming in to take over as the head equipment manager at some time, so to have the chance to better my resume and get an extra foot in the door (is what I’ll take away from VSU football).”