Preston: Maryland football has slipped to point it had to settle for Mike Locksley and his baggage

The hiring of Mike Locksley as head coach of the Maryland football team shows just how far the program has fallen.

Maryland isn’t Ohio State, Penn State or Michigan, but the Terps should have been be able to hire a proven, young, energetic head coach from a school like Maine or Delaware, or a coordinator from a top Division I program that had a proven track record as a former head coach.

Instead, the Terps named Locksley, 48, who brings his own baggage.

They hired the former New Mexico head coach who had a 2-26 record in slightly over two seasons leading the Lobos and a 1-5 record as Maryland’s interim coach in 2015 after Randy Edsall was fired.

On top of that, four games into the 2010 season, Locksley was fired at New Mexico amid off-field controversies, including a complaint of sexual harassment and age discrimination that was later dropped and a physical altercation with an assistant coach that resulted in 10 days of unpaid leave for Locksley.

Maryland should have been able to do better than Locksley, but no high-profile coaches want to come to College Park.

The Terps should be a starting point for some young head coach willing to make a name for himself, but the program is stuck in a quagmire after the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair from heatstroke in June and the subsequent investigation into the football program’s culture.

In all likelihood, Locksley might have been the school’s only option.

He has the pedigree of having spent the past three years with coach Nick Saban at top-ranked Alabama and was this week named the this year’s Frank Broyles Award winner, given annually to the nation’s top assistant in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Locksley also has the reputation of being a great recruiter, but that’s not going to make a major difference at Maryland, which has had four straight losing seasons. He’ll win some big-name recruits, but not enough to make a major difference. For decades, the Terps have had dreams of becoming a national power that have never come true.

Not only does Maryland have to compete in the prestigious Big Ten and overcome the dark cloud of the past several months, but it’s had to accept a coach with Locksley’s baggage.

Overall, you wish the Terps could have done better, but the program has fallen too far.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

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