- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 4, 2018

A month after ending the D.J. Durkin saga, the University of Maryland has hired Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as its next head football coach, the school announced Tuesday night.

Locksley is a Washington native who spent two stints as an assistant coach for Maryland, including as offensive coordinator and interim head coach, and he is said to have extensive recruiting knowledge of the region.

Earlier Tuesday, Locksley won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach. The Crimson Tide have averaged 47.9 points per game in 2018, second in Division I-FBS.

“I am thrilled to be returning home and to have the opportunity to lead the Maryland Football program,” Locksley said in a statement released by the university. “This has always been a special place for me and my family, and I am honored to take on this role at the state’s flagship institution. Our goal is to create an atmosphere and environment focused on the total development of our student-athletes. Our focus will always be to help them become more successful in all areas of their life through their association with our program.”

The Terrapins needed to hire a new coach after firing Durkin Oct. 31 following investigations into an unhealthy culture within his football program, one based on fear and intimidation. Maryland offensive coordinator and interim coach Matt Canada and Michigan passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton were reportedly other finalists for the job.

Locksley was Maryland’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2012 to 2015 and running backs coach from 1997 to 2002. When the Terrapins fired Randy Edsall in 2015, Locksley took up the mantle of interim head coach for the final six games of the season — a 1-5 finish.

He had a disastrous stint as New Mexico’s head coach that lasted less than three years, from 2009 to 2011. The Lobos went 2-26 under him and fired him four games into his third season. He was also suspended for 10 days for a reported physical altercation with one of his assistants.

Athletic director Damon Evans, who retained his job after the death of Jordan McNair and resulting investigations and personnel changes, appears to have been part of the hiring process.

“As we narrowed the search for the individual best suited to lead our program, Michael not only stood out for his talent as a coach, but most importantly for the role he has played as a mentor to student-athletes throughout his career and his deep commitment to helping them grow into leaders on and off the field,” Evans said in the same statement.

Locksley also mentioned McNair and the resilience the Terrapins showed in playing after losing their teammate.

“I have been tremendously impressed at how the team came together through a difficult season and honored their fallen teammate, Jordan,” Locksley’s statement read. “We are all in this together, and I look forward to rejoining the Maryland family. Thank you to Damon Evans, President Loh and the entire Terrapin community for this opportunity.”

Locksley will be introduced at a press conference in College Park on Thursday.

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