Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.
Mike Locksley, interim Maryland head coach
Likelihood scale: 5/10
A D.C. native, Locksley was a defensive back at Towson from 1988-91, earning a degree in marketing and winning Towson's defensive player of the year award his senior year. Right after graduating, he took a position as the defensive backs and special teams coach with Towson, before jumping around as an assistant with Navy Prep (defensive coordinator), Pacific (outside linebackers coach) and Army (wide receivers/tight ends coach).
In 1997, Locksley was hired as Maryland's running backs coach by head coach Ron Vanderlinden. He was promoted to recruiting coordinator the next season, and along with wide receivers coach James Franklin was one of just two assistants retained by new head coach Ralph Friedgen.
After the 2002 season, Locksley was hired away by Ron Zook at Florida as the Gators' running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. After two seasons with Florida, he joined Zook at Illinois as the team's offensive coordinator, recruiting D.C.natives like Arrelious Benn to Champaign and helping lead Illinois to a Rose Bowl berth with Rashard Mendenhall and Juice Williams.
In 2009, Locksley was hired as the head coach of New Mexico, and oversaw one of the worst tenures in modern college football history. The Lobos went 2-26 in his two-plus seasons with the team, a time that included a suspension for Locksley after punching an assistant. New Mexico recruited very well during his time with the program (landing local stars Javarie Johnson and Deon Long and being a finalist for five-star offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio), but was unable to turn that into wins in his short tenure.
After his dismissal in 2011, Locksley was hired by Maryland, serving as the team's offensive coordinator until he took over for Randy Edsall this year as the interim head coach. His time as an offensive coordinator has been not good. What will his time as an interim bring?
The immediate benefits: Locksley wouldn't be running Maryland's offense anymore, and he's arguably the best DMV recruiter in the nation! With an exciting coordinator hire and his recruiting connections, Maryland could land a large chunk of local talent and also utilize it. It's hard to think of a candidate with better established local connections and familiarity with exactly what the program needs to succeed.
As much as you can say "it's New Mexico" (and many, many coaches have failed there), just how specularly hard Locksley failed as a head coach previously is hard to ignore. And while I happen to think there isn't much correlation between being a successful coordinator and a successful head coach (completely different jobs with different responsibilities!), Locksley's lack of success as a coordinator is likewise notable.
In one sentence
Maryland is absolutely the best job for Mike Locksley , but his disastrous stint at New Mexico is likely too much for Mike Locksley to be the best candidate for Maryland.