Commentary: Locksley continues to live well after bad breakup with UNM - Albuquerque Journal

Commentary: Locksley continues to live well after bad breakup with UNM

Maryland head coach Mike Locksley gets water dumped on him by Jeshaun Jones (6) during the second half of the Pinstripe Bowl NCAA college football game against Virginia Tech in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. Maryland won 54-10. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The Mike Locksley Era at the University of New Mexico was a disaster. But things have worked out well for him since.

The Washington Post reported Friday that Locksley has signed a contract extension as Maryland head coach through 2026. Locksley will begin his fourth season at the helm of the Terrapins’ program this fall.

Locksley’s new deal is worth $4 million in 2022 and increases by $100,000 each year, according to contract terms obtained by the Post. He also can earn up to $1,525,000 in performance incentives. “Maryland is not only my dream job, but it’s also home,” Locksley said. “We are building something special here in College Park, and I’m extremely grateful and honored to continue to serve as the head football coach at this outstanding university.”

The only thing special about Locksley’s time at UNM, from 2009-11, is that it was especially bad. The Lobos were 1-11 in each of those years as Locksley dealt with, and in fairness didn’t vent publicly about, penalties assessed the program after violations under previous coach Rocky Long.

But off the field, oh my — an all in such a remarkably short time span.

MAY 2009: A complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed by Sylvia Lopez accusing Locksley of sexual harassment and age discrimination. Her attorney said Locksley had fired her because she was not a “young gal”. She and UNM settled.

SEPTEMBER 2009: Locksley and assistant coach J.B. Gerald engaged in a physical altercation in a football meeting room. Locksley was suspended for 10 days and a game.

SEPTEMBER 2010: Ryan Tomari, then sports editor of the UNM student newspaper, accused Locksley of trying to intimidate him at an Albuquerque bar after he had written an unfavorable column about the team.

SEPTEMBER 2011: While his team was embarrassingly losing to lower-level Sam Houston State at University Stadium, a friend of Locksley’s son was arrested on driving while drunk nearby — in a Ford SUV registered to the Locksley family. It was the last time Locksley was on the sideline. Then athletic director Paul Krebs fired him with eight games to play in the season, and the school ultimately agreed to a $750,000 golden parachute buyout to move past him.

None of that of course is mentioned in Maryland PR releases, other than “Locksley served as the head coach at the University of New Mexico from 2009-11.” Maryland doesn’t list his record at UNM or overall, for that matter, which is common fare for sports information specialists to do.

It certainly does mention Lockley’s success in 2017-18 at Alabama, where he entered Nick Saban’s Career Rehab program. And thrived, frankly, in the structure of the most dynastic run in the sport’s history.

That led to a second opportunity at Maryland for the D.C. native (he was once an assistant there), and while the Terrapins haven’t set the world on fire, they did beat Virginia Tech in last year’s Pinstripe Bowl for the program’s first postseason win since 2010. The Terps (7-6) got their first winning record since 2014.

In a Maryland press release, AD Damon Evans said: “Coach Locks continues to build our program and has high expectations and we know he is the man to lead us there.”

That is nice.

Krebs, in a moment of self-deprecation when fielding abundant praise for hiring basketball coach Steve Alford, replied yes, but he also hired Locksley as well.

Alford is long gone; UNM basketball is still feeling the effects.

Locksley is long gone, and whadda you know, UNM football still is trying to recover to normal health.

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