COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Michael Locksley, named Tuesday as the nation’s top assistant coach, is returning home to become the University of Maryland’s 37th head football coach, Director of Athletics Damon Evans announced Tuesday.
Locksley, a Washington, D.C. native with deep personal and professional connections to the area, brings over 20 years of coaching experience, including two separate stints at Maryland, totalling 10 years with the Terps.
The winner of the 2018 Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach, Locksley has spent the last three years working under Nick Saban at the University of Alabama. He served as the Crimson Tide’s co-offensive coordinator and won a national championship last season before being promoted to offensive coordinator in February of 2018 and helping Alabama return to the College Football Playoff.
“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,” said Evans. “On the field, Michael orchestrated one of the country’s most prolific offenses at the University of Alabama and has long been regarded for his recruiting prowess. Today he was recognized as the nation’s top assistant coach in the country, and I’m excited for him to be leading our program.
“I am thrilled to be returning home and to have the opportunity to lead the Maryland Football program,” said Locksley. “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.
“I have been tremendously impressed at how the team came together through a difficult season and honored their fallen teammate, Jordan. 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 has signed 21 four or five star recruits over his coaching career (according to 247sports), 14 of which came from the DMV area, in addition to coaching 92 NFL Draft selections. Among Locksley’s successful signings to Maryland were future NFL stars Stefon Diggs, Vernon Davis, Shawne Merriman, LaMont Jordan, D’Qwell Jackson, EJ Henderson and Yannick Ngakoue.
Alabama’s Locksley-led offense is averaging 47.9 points and 527.6 yards per game in 2018. The Tide has already set school records for points scored (623), single-season total offense (6,859 yards) and passing yards (4,231) in a season. Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has thrown for 3,189 yards and a school-record 37 touchdowns in 2018.
In 2017, Locksley coached the Alabama wide receivers, who combined to catch 128 passes for 2,059 yards and 19 touchdowns led by First Team All-SEC selection Calvin Ridley. Ridley hauled in 63 passes for 967 yards and five touchdowns in his junior season. Locksley spent the 2016 season on the Crimson Tide’s staff as an offensive analyst.
Prior to Alabama, Locksley served as Maryland’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2012-15. He was named the Terps interim head coach for the final six games of the 2015 season. During his first stint at Maryland (1997-2002), Locksley enjoyed success both recruiting and grooming players in College Park. He oversaw the running backs during his entire tenure, including the final five as recruiting coordinator.
During his time as Maryland’s offensive coordinator, the Terrapins produced balanced and effective results. Locksley’s attack was led by quarterback C.J. Brown, who became Maryland’s all-time leader in touchdowns responsible (58) after totaling 13 passing touchdowns and eight rushing touchdowns in 2014. Locksley also mentored wide receiver, Stefon Diggs, who hauled in 62 passes for 792 yards and five touchdowns en route to second team All-Big Ten honors. Diggs is now an NFL superstar for the Minnesota Vikings.
In 2013, Locksley guided an offense that eclipsed 5,000 yards (5,160) for only the fourth time in program history and the first time since 2003. The passing game excelled that season, totaling 3,231 yards for the third-highest total in school history.
Locksley has also had coaching stops at the University of New Mexico (head coach, 2009-11), University of Illinois (offensive coordinator, 2005-08), University of Florida (running backs coach & recruiting coordinator, 2003-04), Army (wide receivers and tight ends, 1996), University of the Pacific (outside linebackers, 1995), U.S. Naval Academy Preparatory School (defensive coordinator, defensive backs & defensive line, 1993-94) and Towson State (defensive backs and special teams, 1992).
Known for his strong recruiting skills, Locksley was listed as a top-25 recruiter in the nation three different times (2003, 2005, 2006) and was a finalist for 2007 recruiter of the year by Rivals.com. He also engineered top-10 recruiting classes during each of his two seasons (2003-04) as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Florida.
Locksley played safety at Towson University, where he was the team’s defensive MVP as a senior in 1991. He finished his career ranked 19th on the school’s all-time tackles list and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing.
Locksley and his wife, Kia, have four children: Mike Jr., Kai, Kori and the late Meiko.