Friday, 14 Dec 2018
Sport

Michael Locksley is introduced as a football coach in Maryland: "It was the job I had always coveted"


New Maryland football coach Michael Locksley, left, is greeted by supporters while he is introduced Thursday at Cole Field House College Park. (Photo by Toni L. Sandys / The Washington Post)

Maryland unveiled Michael Locksley, a small group of cheerleaders and band members. his football coach Thursday with hoopla style pep-rally.

Locksley, a Washington native who worked in Maryland for 10 seasons during two previous periods as an assistant, acquiesced and whispered with the "Go Maryland" parts of the fight song of the same year. school before being presented by the sports director, Damon Evans.

"When I started coaching," said Locksley, speaking from a platform inside the team's indoor training facility, "it was the job I had always been looking for. ".

Every weekend, said Locksley, he follows five teams: the one he trains; Ballou High and Towson, his alma maters; the Washington Redskins; and Maryland.

But now that he's at College Park – at least once in a while as Alabama's offensive coordinator during the college football play-offs – he'll face the challenge of leading a team. who has been through the chaos since June.

Locksley needs to train his staff, find the right coordinators and determine if a member of the previous regime should stay. He will juggle recruiting with his Alabama game preparation, and he inherits a recruiting class that has fallen behind in the recent controversy. Then he will have to win.

As a head coach in New Mexico and as acting coach in Maryland for half of the 2015 season, Locksley has a 3-31 record, scoring these three wins by a margin combined 10 points. During his tenure in New Mexico, Locksley also had several off-field issues from 2009 to 2011.

"I am so far removed from this New Mexico experience," said Locksley, 48. "Who I became coach and became a person, like everyone else, you grow up, you grow up."

As Evans is quick to point out, Locksley has spent the last three seasons working for Nick Saban in Alabama. With Locksley on the track this season, the Crimson Tide offense has reached a record. Locksley won the Broyles Award, awarded to the country's best assistant, and helped quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to become a finalist in the Heisman Trophy.

"I just spent three years saturated to win and see what it means to be well done," Locksley said.

Locksley said he would need a three-hour course to explain everything he had learned under Saban, ranging from discipline to regularity, to how Saban entered the team's premises. the same time each morning.

This preparation, he said, put him on the road to a job not only as head coach, but this one.

"Mike is steeped in the very structure of who we are as a state and who we are as Terps," Evans said.

Locksley grew up attending Maryland's basketball and football games. He said Thursday that his closest friend was hanging out in Cole Field House car parks. He remembers what he described as tough football teams of the 1980s. He wanted to be a Terp but said he was not good enough, so he played at Towson.

"I'm here to build a winning football family," said Locksley. "The problem with the family is that we all know that the family name is something that people wear with pride. … As I told the team, our last name is Terrapins, Terps, and when people say it, I want them to say it with some respect.

Locksley's local ties give him a recruiting edge that will be put to the test as he struggles to build on a 2019 promotion that ranks 85th in the country and last in the Big Ten rankings, according to 247 Sports.

Although their future with the program remains uncertain, some coaches of Maryland assistants, including Chris Beatty and Bryan Stinespring, attended the press conference, as well as a few players. Locksley met the players on Thursday morning and plans to meet them individually.

Locksley will remain in Maryland until the end of next week, then return to Alabama to help the team prepare to face Oklahoma on Dec. 29 in the semifinal playoffs. Even there, he said, "At night, I go to my office to put on my Terp hat and start recruiting for the Terps."

Locksley said he did not want to rush the staffing process, but he has some names in mind. In the coming days, he plans to meet all current assistants.

The program that Locksley will lead has attracted national attention following the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair and the resulting reports of a culture of violence within the program. Evans called Locksley, the coach, who can help the team "continue to heal," evoking the death of his son Meiko in September 2017. Locksley's daughter, Kori, attended McDonogh School near from Baltimore with McNair.

McNair's father, Martin, attended the press conference on Thursday.

Locksley promised that the safety and well-being of players would be his top priority when creating the program's culture. Winning, he said, will follow.

As Locksley's Alabama team set out to play Louisville in their opening game of the season, Locksley said he was looking at Maryland's upset Texas and was noticing the energy of the players in an emotional match .

"I do not come in a naked closet," Locksley said. "I come in a team that fights, that has the tenacity and the characteristics on which I feel we can build."

Learn more about university sports coverage:

Field Work of a Maryland Soccer Player: Preventing Goals and Rescuing Frogs

In the heart of Texas, Kyler Murray fans seek a QB from Oklahoma to win the Heisman

John Feinstein: Nothing in the sport touches me more than Army-Navy

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