(CBS News) — Maryland has hired current Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley as its new head football coach, the school announced Tuesday. Locksley will take over for Matt Canada, who served as the interim coach of the Terrapins during the 2018 season after D.J. Durkin’s suspension and termination.
“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 [McNair]. We are all in this together, and I look forward to rejoining the Maryland family. Thank you to [athletic director] Damon Evans, President [Wallace] Loh and the entire Terrapin community for this opportunity.”
Locksley’s first year as the Crimson Tide offensive coordinator has been outstanding. The top-ranked Alabama offense is averaging 527.6 yards per game — which would obliterate the single-season school record for total offense (484.5 YPG in 2014). Under his guidance, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa earned an invitation to New York as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, four receivers have gained more than 600 yards receiving and the Crimson Tide have averaged 7.92 yards per play — the second-best mark in the nation. He was recently named the 2018 winner of the Broyles Award, given to the top assistant coach in college football.
“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 athletic director Damon 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.”
It is a homecoming of sorts for Locksley. He was the offensive coordinator of the Terrapins from 2012-15 under Randy Edsall, and served as the interim coach after Edsall was fired midway through the 2015 season. Prior to Maryland, he spent two-and-a-half seasons as the coach at New Mexico where he went 2-26. A former defensive back at Towson State in Towson, Maryland, Locksley grew up in nearby Washington, D.C.
He will take over a program that had an emotional 2018 season. Terrapins offensive lineman Jordan McNair passed away in June after suffering from heatstroke during a team workout in May. That set off an investigation into the culture within the program that led to Durkin’s suspension and eventual dismissal from the program. Canada’s Terrapins went 5-7, but did beat Texas in Week 1 and was a two-point conversion away from upsetting Ohio State on Nov. 17.
Brett McMurphy of Stadium reports that Locksley will stay on as the offensive coordinator of Alabama through its College Football Playoff run.