COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — Michael Locksley was officially introduced as University of Maryland’s next head football coach.
Locksley held his first press conference on Thursday.
“Boy, it sure feels good to be home, man,” Locksley said.
He’s returning to College Park for his third stint at the University, but this time, he’s the head coach.
“My number one priority as head of this family is the health, development & safety of these kids. Every decision I make with them, will be made as if they’re my own child,” Locksley said during the press conference.
Locksley was named the winner of the 2018 Frank Broyles Award, which is annually given to the nation’s top assistant coach in college football.
The 48-year-old just spent the last three years working under Nick Saban at the University of Alabama, where he worked as the co-offensive coordinator and won a national championship last season before he was promoted to offensive coordinator in February 2018 and helped Alabama return to the College Football Playoff.
“I just spent three years saturating in winning and seeing what it’s like to be done right and I can only hope that I can take a little bit of what I learned from Coach Saban to implement and install here,” Locksley said.
He said he knows what it takes to win and recruit, but he is taking over a program in the midst of turmoil, but he said he’s still confident he can turn it around.
The program has been dealing with a lot over the last year, following the death of Jordan McNair, who suffered a heat stroke, along with allegations of a toxic culture within the program- that led to the firing of D.J. Durkin.
Locksley spoke about his relationship with the McNair family, who were in attendance at Thursday’s press conference.
“Marty and I’s relationship goes back a long way, our kids went to school together, we both tragically lost our kids, I’ve been a mentor for Marty and he’s been a sounding board for me,” Locksley said.
Locksley’s own son was murdered in Columbia just last year.
As far as turning the Terps around and getting parents and players to regain trust in the program, Locksley says he’s ready for the challenge.
“It will be my goal to make sure when I do go sit in those homes, they understand when I start making decisions, that if they send their son to me, I’m going to make the decision as if their son is my son,” Locksley said.
Locksley will remain Alabama’s offensive coordinator through the College Football Playoffs, doing double duty at Maryland until next Thursday, then back to Alabama to get ready for their matchup against Oklahoma.
According to reports, Locksley will make around $2.5 million per year.
“I’m not here to just build a winning football team, I’m here to build a winning football family. Our family name is Terrapins, Terps for short, and when people say it, I want them to say it with some respect,” Locksley said. “I want our players to be prideful of that family name. My number one priority and focus will be in the health, development and safety as head of this family,”