The new University of Maryland football coach was announced Thursday at the new Cole Field House indoor practice facility in College Park, Maryland, and it was a familiar face, as the Terrapins welcomed back Washington, D.C. native Michael Locksley as their returning head coach.
The Baltimore Sun reported that after all of the drama and sorrow the Maryland football program has been through with the death of freshman Jordan McNair and the major shakeups in the athletic department, Locksley’s speech and demeanor in front of staff and press “seemed to come from the heart,” as opposed to past head coaches.
Introducing Locksley was Maryland’s new Athletic Director, Damon Evans, who also seemed at home and appearing “smooth” despite the criticism of the program, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Locksley talked about the College Park campus as being “home,” saying that in the 1980s, he attended many basketball games at Cole Field House, and football games at Byrd Stadium while growing up in the Baltimore-Washington area, per the Baltimore Sun.
The Terps’ new football coach says that he was never a good enough football player himself to be a Maryland Terrapin, but he always wanted to be.
“I grew up rooting for the Terps, and if you know anything about the Terps, man, in the mid-1980s, they were a tough, tough team. I’ve always wanted to be a Terp. I wasn’t a good enough football player coming out of Ballou High School, so I settled for being a Towson Tiger.”
Perhaps of the greatest importance to the UMD community was the appearance of Marty McNair at Locksley’s side. McNair is the father of Jordan McNair, the freshman player who died last year in preseason training on the Maryland campus.
Locksley, whose daughter was a classmate of Jordan McNair at The McDonogh School in Owings Mills, Maryland, spoke of his relationship with Marty McNair.
“There’s one person in particular that I have a tremendous relationship with and it means the world to me that he would be here to celebrate this joyous day — my good friend Marty McNair.”
Like McNair, Locksley also lost a son, Meiko, in 2017, which has added to the bond the men share.
“I appreciate you being here with me. Marty and my relationship goes back a long way. We both have tragically lost our kids. I have been a mentor for Marty and Marty has been a sounding board for me the last year and a half as we have worked through the emotions and toughness of losing a child.”
Mike Locksley has signed a five-year contract with UMD with an option for a sixth. The newly minted Terps football coach says he’s in it for the long haul, and he’s looking to build a top team and a “football family.”