Lobos introduce Locksley

Former Towson player, UM assistant agrees to 6-year deal as coach

College Football Notes

December 10, 2008|By From Sun staff and news services

Incoming New Mexico coach Mike Locksley is picking up where his predecessor left off, saying the program is in good shape and he's ready to make things even better.

"This isn't a rebuilding project. I look at it as a renovation," said Locksley, a former Towson State defensive back and assistant coach, who was introduced yesterday. "I'll be putting my personal touches on the great foundation that's already been laid."

New Mexico athletic director Paul Krebs said Locksley, who also served as Maryland's running backs coach and recruiting coordinator from 1997 to 2002, was the only candidate offered the job. He agreed to a six-year contract worth $750,000 annually.

"Make no mistake about it. This man was our No. 1 choice," Krebs said during a pep rally news conference with cheerleaders, vocal students and a band playing New Mexico's fight song.

Locksley spent the past four seasons as offensive coordinator at Illinois and will replace Rocky Long, who resigned last month after 11 seasons.

Locksley, who will turn 39 on Christmas Day, is taking his first college head coaching job. He'll be the fourth black head coach in the Bowl Subdivision.

Locksley comes to Albuquerque with a reputation as an accomplished recruiter and someone who runs an exciting offense. Under Locksley this season, Illinois ranked second in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in total offense, averaging 439.4 yards per game.

Locksley grew up in Washington and was a three-year starter at safety at Towson, where he was named the team's defensive Most Valuable Player in 1991 as a senior. He started his coaching career at Towson in 1992, handling defensive backs and special teams.

Navy: : Fullback Eric Kettani has been selected to play in the 2009 East-West Shrine All-Star Game in Houston on Jan. 17.

Kettani, who surpassed 2,000 yards in his career in Saturday's 34-0 victory over Army, is the sixth Navy player to be selected for the game in the past seven years.

Auburn: : Dozens of students and alumni marched across campus to the president's mansion to protest the school's treatment of former coach Tommy Tuberville.

University officials said Tuberville resigned on his own last week after a decade that included an undefeated season and a Southeastern Conference title. But many demonstrators claimed that administrators and powerful boosters forced him out after a 5-7 record that included a 36-0 loss to Alabama.

Tuberville hasn't publicly discussed details of what happened, but his mother told the Opelika-Auburn News her son was fired.

Butkus Award: : Wake Forest senior Aaron Curry won the award honoring the nation's top college linebacker.

Curry finished the regular season with 101 tackles, three fumble recoveries and an interception. The award is named after Hall of Famer Dick Butkus, who made a surprise visit to the school to present the award to Curry.

Texas Tech: : Quarterback Graham Harrell isn't so sure now that coach Mike Leach will be leaving Lubbock.

Harrell, who last week said there was a "great chance" Leach would leave the Red Raiders, reversed his opinion because his coach didn't fill the vacancy at Washington.

"I thought the Washington job would be a great job for him," Harrell said. "He loves the West Coast. He likes the Pac-10 conference. When he didn't take that one, I figured, 'I think he'll be back.' "

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