— Maryland Football (@TerpsFootball) December 5, 2018
Locksley won the Broyles Award on Tuesday as the nation’s top assistant coach. He guided Alabama’s offense to a school record 623 points and 6,859 yards this season as the Crimson Tide began 13-0 and won the SEC championship. He interviewed with the Terrapins on Sunday after Alabama beat Georgia 35-28 in Atlanta.
He spent three years at Alabama, arriving as an offensive analyst in 2016 before becoming wide receivers coach in 2017. This was his first year as offensive coordinator.
“I am thrilled to be returning home and to have the opportunity to lead the Maryland Football program,” Locksley said in a press release. “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.”
Locksley is from the area and was an assistant coach and coordinator at Maryland from 2012-15. He became the interim head coach in 2015 after Randy Edsall was fired, going 1-5 to finish the season.
His only full-time head coaching job in college came at New Mexico from 2009-11, where he went 2-26 before being fired in the midst of his third season. That termination brought him to Maryland as an assistant.
Locksley became not just a celebrated playcaller at Alabama, but also an ace recruiter. Alabama has three commitments from Maryland in the class of 2019 and another in the class of 2020. Three of those four players are ranked in the top 100 of the 247Sports Composite.
“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,” Maryland athletics director Damon Evans said. “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.
He had an opportunity to join D.J. Durkin’s staff at Maryland in 2016 but chose to come to Alabama instead. Durkin was fired earlier this fall after an investigation into the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair during summer workouts. The Terrapins went 5-7 this season, including 3-6 in the Big 10, under interim coach Matt Canada.
“I have been tremendously impressed at how the team came together through a difficult season and honored their fallen teammate, Jordan,” he said. “We are all in this together, and I look forward to rejoining the Maryland family.”
Alabama’s next offensive coordinator will be its fifth dating back to the end of the 2016 season, when Lane Kiffin moved on before the national championship game after being named head coach at FAU. He was succeeded by Steve Sarkisian, who called plays in the national championship game before leaving for the same position with the Atlanta Falcons. Brian Daboll helped Alabama win a national championship in 2017 before Locksley took the job.
This is the fourth consecutive season in which an Alabama coordinator has been named a head coach elsewhere before the postseason concluded. Kirby Smart was named head coach at Georgia in 2015 before Kiffin left in 2016. Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt was named head coach at Tennessee in December 2017. Smart and Pruitt finished out the season with the Crimson Tide. Nick Saban is scheduled to speak with the media on Thursday in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame to preview the College Football Playoff.
Staff writer Cecil Hurt contributed to this story.