Chicago Sun-Times
With Sun-Times sports reporter Herb Gould

New Mexico fires Mike Locksley, ex-Illini assistant

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Mike Locksley, who was Ron Zook's first offensive coordinator at Illinois, was fired Sunday as New Mexico head coach. It wasn't a surprise, considering that Locksley went 2-26 in two-plus seasons with the Lobos.
In addition, it was a difficult tenure marked by numerous off-the-field embarrassments, including a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former administrative assistant and an altercation with an assistant coach that prompted UNM officials to give Locksley a 10-day suspension.
The last straw came on Saturday, when New Mexico lost 48-45 in overtime Saturday to Sam Houston State before an announced crowd of 16,313, the Lobos' smallest home crowd in almost 19 years.
It's a sad day. When Locksley was at Illinois, he was an exceptional recruiter who spearheaded the Illini's Washington, D.C., pipeline, which included future NFLers Vontae Davis and Arrelious Benn. As Illinois' offensive coordinator, he also did an excellent job of harnessing the skills of quarterback Juice Williams, who led the Illinois to the Rose Bowl in 2007.
When Locksley was an Illinois assistant, I thought he had a chance to be a very successful head coach. While in Champaign, he was personable, a fine recruiter and a coach who seemed to know his Xs and Os.
When he took the New Mexico job, though, that was a head-scratcher. He was ranging far from his East Coast roots to a program that had been struggling before he got there.
In hindsight, a move to a mid-major program replacing a successful coach who was moving up would have made more sense. Barring that option, going East would have given him a better chance.
None of that matters now, though. Locksley's dismissal is another reminder of what a tough business coaching is.

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2 Comments

Right on Bagwhan - as a Lobo alum I am very glad to see Locksley go . . . Rocky Long was a great coach and I was sorry he left and wish the city of Albuquerque would really get behind the team. Hope the next coach will be able to bring pride and success back to Lobo land.

Dude you left out the whole reason for the coach's firing---kid named Butts claiming to be a Locksley recruit driving the coachs car while drunk, almost hitting a pedestrian, having no liscence and a gf threatening the arresting officers. More embarrasing than the loss to Sam Houston, which the UNM paid 300k to come and play them.

He is an absolute disgrace to the game and the development of young men. He brought an element to UNM that they're going to have to clean up and after for a long while.

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This page contains a single entry by Herb Gould published on September 26, 2011 7:29 AM.

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