Lock­sley re­turns home to be Mary­land foot­ball coach

The Record (Troy, NY) - - SPORTS -

COL­LEGE PARK, MD. (AP) >> Mike Lock­sley is thrilled to be home.

The Wash­ing­ton na­tive who spent two stints as a Mary­land foot­ball as­sis­tant and also served as the Ter­rap­ins’ in­terim leader for six games in 2015 was in­tro­duced Thurs­day as the school’s full-time coach.

“This was the job I’ve cov­eted since the day I put a whis­tle around my neck as a coach,” said Lock­sley, the Alabama of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor who Tues­day was named the win­ner of the Broyles Award as the na­tion’s top as­sis­tant coach. “Some peo­ple grow up want­ing to be the head coach at the Univer­sity of Alabama, Michi­gan, all the sto­ried pro­grams. For Locks, this was it.”

Lock­sley, who turns 49 on Christ­mas Day, will re­main with the top-ranked Crim­son Tide through the Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off.

He is tak­ing over a Mary­land pro­gram com­ing off its most tu­mul­tuous sea­son in re­cent mem­ory.

It has been less than six months since the June 13 death of of­fen­sive line­man Jor­dan McNair, who col­lapsed from heat stroke May 29 dur­ing an off­sea­son work­out. Former coach D.J. Durkin was placed on ad­min­is­tra­tive leave on Aug. 11 as in­ves­ti­ga­tions were con­ducted into the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing McNair’s death and al­le­ga­tions of bul­ly­ing and in­tim­i­da­tion by coach and one of his as­sis­tants.

The gov­ern­ing board for the state univer­sity sys­tem de­cided to re­in­state Durkin on Oct. 30, a de­ci­sion that prompted wide­spread out- rage and protests by play­ers. Univer­sity pres­i­dent Wal­lace Loh fired Durkin the next day.

Matt Canada served as the team’s in­terim coach and was cred­ited with keep­ing the team to­gether un­der dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances and he in­ter­viewed for the per­ma­nent job, but Mary­land in­stead went with Lock­sley,

The Terps fin­ished the sea­son 5-7, their fourth con­sec­u­tive los­ing sea­son and third year in the last four with­out a post­sea­son ap­pear­ance.

“This has been a dif­fi­cult sea­son for our team,” ath­letic di­rec­tor Da­mon Evans said. “They de­serve some­one who can bring us to­gether, some­one who un­der­stands what they have gone through, some­one who can help them con­tinue to heal.”

En­ter Lock­sley, who en­dured a per­sonal tragedy of his own. His 25-year- old son Meiko was shot and killed Sept. 3, 2017, in Columbia, Mary­land.

Lock­sley also knows McNair’s fam­ily; his daugh­ter at­tended high school with McNair. Mar­tin McNair, Jor­dan’s fa­ther, at­tended Thurs­day’s news con­fer­ence.

“My No. 1 pri­or­ity and fo­cus will be the health, devel­op­ment and safety as the head of this fam­ily,” Lock­sley said.

Lock­sley pre­vi­ously worked at Mary­land from 1997-2002 as the run­ning backs coach and from 201215 as of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor. He also had stops in be­tween at Flor­ida (2003- 04) and Illi­nois (2005- 08).

It is Lock­sley’s sec­ond full- time head coach­ing job. He had a rocky ten­ure on and off the field over parts of three sea­sons at New Mex­ico, where he was 2-26. He was sus­pended for one game in 2009 for an al­ter­ca­tion with an as­sis­tant coach, and was sued for sex­ual ha­rass­ment by an ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant. Those claims were later re­solved.

In­clud­ing his six- game stint as Mary­land’s in­terim coach in 2015, he owns a 3-31 ca­reer record.

“I’m so far re­moved from that New Mex­ico ex­pe­ri­ence — 10 years and two days from when I was in­tro­duced there,” Lock­sley said. “Who I’ve be­come as a coach and who I’ve be­come as a per­son, as every­one else (does), you ma­ture, you grow. I just spent three years sat­u­rated in win­ning un­der coach Nick Sa­ban and the Alabama foot­ball pro­gram.”

Mary­land’s foot­ball pro­gram has strug­gled to gain trac­tion since join­ing the Big Ten in 2014. The Terps have gone 13-30 in league play in that span, in­clud­ing a com­bined 3-17 against East Divi­sion pow­ers Michi­gan, Michi­gan State, Ohio State and Penn State.

Lock­sley pos­sesses a rep­u­ta­tion as a strong re­cruiter, par­tic­u­larly in the Wash­ing­ton area, which made him an ideal can­di­date after such a dif­fi­cult sea­son.

“We have one of the best ar­eas in the coun­try for ta­lent, and we’re go­ing to work our tails off to keep it right here,” Lock­sley said.

PA­TRICK SE­MAN­SKY - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Mary­land’s new head foot­ball coach Mike Lock­sley speaks at an NCAA col­lege foot­ball news con­fer­ence, Thurs­day, Dec. 6, 2018, in Col­lege Park, Md. Lock­sley, Alabama’s of­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor, will take over at Mary­land after the most tu­mul­tuous year in the pro­gram’s re­cent his­tory.

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