Alabama OC Mike Locksley Named Maryland Head Coach

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2018

PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 28:  Interim head coach Mike Locksley of the Maryland Terrapins watches the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on November 28, 2015 in Piscataway, New Jersey.  (Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images)
G Fiume/Getty Images

The University of Maryland announced Tuesday that Alabama Crimson Tide assistant Mike Locksley has been hired as the Terrapins' new head football coach after DJ Durkin was fired in October.

Brett McMurphy of Stadium first reported the school's choice. The Terps later confirmed the news:

Maryland Football @TerpsFootball

Welcome Home! We are excited to announce Michael Locksley as the head coach of Maryland Football. #LOCKedIn 🔒 | #FearTheTurtle https://t.co/7ysnt51mQz https://t.co/CLeCcqVDuC

The press release included a statement from athletic director Damon Evans about the selection:

"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. 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."

Locksley also discussed his decision to return in the release:

"I am thrilled to be returning home and to have the opportunity to lead the Maryland Football program. 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 [Wallace] Loh and the entire Terrapin community for this opportunity."

Durkin's departure from the program came amid intense scrutiny.

Maryland launched an investigation into how the Terps' football team was run following a report in August from Heather Dinich, Adam Rittenberg and Tom VanHaaren of ESPN.com alleging a "coaching environment based on fear and intimidation" and an overall "toxic" culture.

The details were reported after Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair died of heatstroke he suffered during a team workout.

In October, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents received the final report from the commission tasked with reviewing the football team, which cited problems within the program but didn't label the overall culture as "toxic," per Rick Maese and Keith L. Alexander of the Washington Post.

Durkin was originally reinstated based on the findings, but he was fired by the school one day later following intense public backlash.

Meanwhile, the Terrapins finished the 2018 college football season with a 5-7 record, including a 3-6 mark in Big Ten play, under interim head coach Matt Canada.

Locksley returns to Maryland after spending the last three years on the Crimson Tide staff, most recently serving as offensive coordinator for the 2018 campaign.

The 48-year-old Washington, D.C., native previously posted a 1-5 record as the Terps' interim coach in 2015 after the firing of Randy Edsall. He went 2-26 across two-plus seasons as head coach of the New Mexico Lobos from 2009 through 2011.

Locksley is tasked with establishing a new foundation for a program that hasn't posted a winning record in conference play since 2010, which was also the season the Terps won their last bowl game.