During his introduction as Maryland's new head football coach Dec. 6, Mike Locksley said Maryland has long been his "dream job" and articulated his commitment to putting the "health, welfare and safety" of players first.
The news conference was aired on the Big Ten Network.
Maryland's hire of Locksley brings the 48-year-old native of Washington, D.C., full circle. Locksley, played football at then-Towson State from 1988-1991, was the running backs coach at Maryland from 1997-2002 and was the recruiting coordinator for the Terps from 1998-2002. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Maryland from 2012-2015 and served as the interim head coach for the final six games of the 2015 season.
Locksley began coaching in 1992. His most recent stop was Alabama, for which he was offensive analyst in 2016, the co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2017 and the lone offensive coordinator in 2018.
"This is the job I coveted since the day I put a whistle around my neck as a coach," Locksley said. "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, and when the opportunity presented itself for the ability for me to come here and be the leader of this family, there was nothing that could stop me from wanting to take this job, other than confirming that all the pieces were in place for this program, this family to be successful."
The top duty for Locksley is to repair a football program reeling from the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who
during a team workout May 29 and died June 13. University president Wallace Loh said the school accepted
"moral and legal responsibility"
for McNair's death and an investigation led by Dr. Rod Walters concluded Maryland
did not follow best practices
after McNair fell ill.
"Every decision I make as the leader of this family will put the health, welfare and safety of the students first, like I would my own children," Locksley said.
Marty McNair, the father of Jordan McNair, attended Locksley's news conference. Locksley explained that he and Marty McNair have known each other for some time; Locksley's daughter, Kori, graduated from McDonogh School in the spring of 2016, the same time that Jordan McNair did.
Locksley's son, Meiko, was shot and killed at the age of 25 in Columbia, Md., Sept. 3, 2017. Locksley and his wife, Kia, have bonded with Marty McNair and Tonya Wilson, the mother of Jordan McNair.
"We have a common bond," Locksley said. "When you lose a child, the circle of the life isn't meant for parents to bury kids. I've been a sounding board for Marty; he's been an ear for me. Our relationship has continued to grow, and for him to be here today just means the world to me and my family to see me take the reigns of this football family."
Another duty for Locksley is to rebuild the Terps' 2019 recruiting class in short order. Maryland, which has just eight verbal commitments, is rated as having the 85th-best class in the country by 247Sports' composite rankings. The early signing period begins Dec. 19.
Long-term, Locksley wants to recreate what he saw as a coach during his first stint at Maryland. The Terps went 31-8 from 2001-2003.
"I have a vision, a picture in my mind for what it felt like and what it looked like when we accomplished those goals as a team. I know it can be done again," Locksley said. "I know it'll take some hard work. It'll take some great effort. It'll take this community getting behind the program and the players in this area staying home and developing that sense of pride back into wearing a Terp jersey. I love building. I'm a builder by nature. This is a great opportunity and the timing was just perfect for me now."
Locksley will continue to serve as Alabama's offensive coordinator until its season concludes. Locksley said he'll be Maryland through Dec. 12 to start to speak with players individually, meet with assistant coaches and start recruiting. He'll head back to Alabama Dec. 13, and the Tide will start practicing Dec. 14 in preparation its College Football Playoff semifinal game against Oklahoma Dec. 29.
"This isn't his first rodeo with dealing with a coach having to prepare for a playoff game and working for another institution," Locksley said of Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban.
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