Maryland football is in its 123rd season. Randy Edsall, fired this weekend, was the program's 34th head coach. The 35th, Mike Locksley, will be the first black head football coach in the university's long history.
Suffice to say, the circumstances surrounding his hire aren't uniformly pleasant. The Terrapins are 2-4 and have lost their last three games by a combined 88 points. Locksley is unlikely to last beyond the second half of the season, as the school will likely attempt to hire a big name in the winter. But Locksley has a long coaching history himself.
Where Locksley comes from
Locksley, who turns 46 on Christmas Day, was born and raised in Washington, D.C. He was a defensive back at Ballou High School, and went on to play at Towson from 1988-91. He graduated in 1992 with a degree in marketing, but stuck around as the Tigers' defensive backs coach and special teams coach the following fall. Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson on Sunday cited Locksley's local roots as a major benefit.
He has been in the coaching business ever since, including an earlier stint as Maryland's running backs coach from 1997-2002. He was also the recruiting coordinator for five of those six seasons. He left in 2003 to take over the same positions at the University of Florida. In 2005, he was named the offensive coordinator at the University of Illinois, and he is credited with luring several DMV products to Urbana-Champaign, such as current NFL wide receiver Arrelious Benn. In December 2008, he became the first African-American head football coach at New Mexico.
Locksley's head coaching past
Locksley's only head coaching stint was wildly unsuccessful. His Lobos went 2-26 before he was fired four games into the 2011 season, less than halfway into his six-year contract. His time in Albuquerque was also marred by two 2009 incidents: an age and sex discrimination complaint from an administrative assistant that was later dropped (Locksley would sue for defamation), and a sideline altercation with an assistant coach that led to a one-game suspension. It wasn't a successful tenure, but Locksley enters probably a better situation at Maryland.
Locksley's time at Maryland
Maryland hired Locksley back as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the 2012 season, and he's remained with the program ever since. He has received a fair amount of criticism this season in light of the team's atrocious quarterback play. Perry Hills, Caleb Rowe and Daxx Garman have combined to complete fewer than half of their passes this season, and their 17 interceptions lead all 128 FBS teams.
It was Edsall who took the fall, however, and when the Terps square off against Penn State in Baltimore on Oct. 24, both schools will be led by their first-ever black head coach. That's a major thing, and it's safe to say Curley Byrd never saw that one coming.