2017 was VMI assistant coach Casey Dykes' third year with the program. Dykes works with the catchers, hitters and serves as the program's recruiting coordinator. Already at VMI, he has seen seven of his players earn all-conference honors, seen his hitters pace VMI to two top-10 finishes in Division I home runs and seen the Keydet offense post 24 top-10 team figures in program history.
The most recent Keydet season saw the breakthrough of Tyler Tharp, the senior outfielder who hit just over .200 in 2016. Tharp burst on the scene to hit .348 and earn all-SoCon honors, thanks in large part to his 16 homers and 143 total bases, a new school record in that stat. Collin Fleischer went on a late season power binge to finish with 17 homers, the second-most in school history, and moved into third all-time at VMI in that statistic, while the Keydets as a team hit 77 homers, just one off the school record set in 2010.
In 2016, Dykes saw Matt Pita earn Second Team All-State honors, Fleischer post the third-most home runs in school history en route to Second Team All-SoCon laurels and third baseman David Geary finish fourth in the SoCon in doubles. All told, the team hit the second-most home runs in school history - surpassing the previous year's total) and ranked in the top-10 in Division I in that stat for much of the season.
In his first year on Post, Dykes made quite the impact as well. Star catcher Matt Winn was a Johnny Bench Award finalist, a Third Team All-American and a 14th-round MLB draft selection, while Jordan Tarsovich was also chosen in the MLB draft (22nd round, Dodgers). Both players also earned First Team All-SoCon honors, while outfielder Will Connerley was a Second Team all-conference selection. Despite missing nearly three weeks of action due to weather postponements, the Keydets hit the then second-most home runs in school history (surpassed the following season) and also ranked in the top-10 in program annals in runs batted in.
Dykes came to VMI on January 8, 2015, after spending the 2014 season as a volunteer assistant at his alma mater, Western Kentucky. He worked with the outfielders during that time, in addition to heading up team operations, baseball camps and team nutrition, which he also did during the fall of 2013. Dykes saw significant improvement from his outfielders during his lone regular season as a volunteer, as the WKU outfielders went from six assists in 2013 to 15 the following year. All three of the Hilltoppers' regular outfielders hit over .300, with Anderson Miller leading the team with a .336 batting average that helped him earn Second Team All-Sun Belt honors.
During his four-year playing career at WKU, Dykes saw the majority of his time at third base and posted a career .960 fielding percentage. He finished his four-year stay at WKU as a .284 career hitter, playing in 185 games, including 174 starts. He posted a career .382 slugging percentage and a .373 on-base percentage, while belting 11 career home runs and driving in 95 over four years.
Dykes holds a bachelors' degree in sport management from WKU, in addition to a masters' in athletic administration that he completed in 2014. Dykes and his wife, Chaney, currently reside in Lexington with their son, Jett.