Mike Locksley, who went from being the Maryland football team's offensive coordinator to its interim head coach for the past seven weeks after coach Randy Edsall was fired, interviewed for Edsall's old job Monday, a source familiar with the process said.
The popular 45-year-old assistant, who won Saturday for the first time in six games when the Terps came from behind to beat Rutgers, 46-41, is believed to be the first candidate to meet with a search committee put together by athletic director Kevin Anderson.
According to a source, former Maryland quarterback Frank Reich, now the San Diego Chargers' offensive coordinator, also interviewed Monday. Reich, who turns 54 this week, never has been a head coach at the college or NFL level.
It isn't known whom else Maryland plans to interview, though several names have been reported.
Multiple reports have said that Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin had been contacted by Maryland or by an outside headhunter representing the Terps. According to one national sports blog, ajerseyguy.com, Durkin was set to become the team's head coach. A source familiar with the search process denied on Sunday that the 37-year-old assistant had agreed to a deal.
InsideMDSports.com also reported Monday that Mark Richt, who was fired by Georgia on Sunday, had been contacted by Maryland and could interview as soon as Tuesday. Senior associate athletic director Damon Evans, who has been at Maryland for about a year, was the athletic director at Georgia before being fired in 2010.
Richt has been contacted by Maryland, but no meeting or interview has been set up.
Richt, who was fired after 15 seasons at Georgia, is the biggest name in the mix, though he will likely draw interest from other, more high-profile programs such as Miami, where he was a backup quarterback, as well as from South Carolina. Under Richt, the Bulldogs played in a bowl game every year and won two Southeastern Conference championships. His overall record of 145-51 is the fifth best among active Football Bowl Subdivision coaches.
Another name mentioned prominently for the Maryland job has been former Indianapolis Colts and Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. In both jobs, he helped develop quarterback Andrew Luck, first into a Heisman Trophy runner-up in college and later into a Pro Bowl player.
Hamilton was fired during the 2015 season as Luck and the Colts struggled offensively. There were reports that Hamilton was never the choice of coach Chuck Pagano, and got caught in a power struggle between Pagano and general manager Ryan Grigson.
Hamilton, 41, briefly worked for Locksley at New Mexico before leaving for Stanford when he was offered a job by then-coach Jim Harbaugh. Hamilton remained in Palo Alto, Calif., when Harbaugh left for the San Francisco 49ers and was promoted to offensive coordinator under current coach David Shaw. Not only does Hamilton have ties to the area — he played and coached at Howard, Maryland's first opponent in 2016 — but his wife is from Prince George's County.
When Edsall was fired on Oct. 11, Anderson stated that Locksley would get an opportunity to try out to be the team's next head coach. Maryland finished 3-9 overall, including 1-5 under Locksley, who is 3-31 as a head coach after serving in that position from 2009 to the beginning of the 2011 season at New Mexico. He was being paid $625,000 a year as offensive coordinator and reportedly received a raise after taking over for Edsall.
Anderson hopes to keep Locksley on in some role even if he's not hired as head coach, according to a source familiar with Anderson's thinking, to keep a potential top-30 recruiting class intact.
Locksley was largely responsible for signing two of the highest-rated recruits ever to commit to Maryland: former wide receiver Stefon Diggs and future quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., a four-star prospect who committed to the Terps last spring and stated his allegiance to the program even after Edsall was fired.
Before he coached his first game, a one-point loss to Penn State on Oct. 24 at M&T Bank Stadium, Locksley had garnered support from a number of former Terps, including former NFL All-Pro linebacker Shawne Merriman and former running back LaMont Jordan.
Legendary Washington, D.C., high school coach Willie Stewart said at the time that if Locksley isn't hired as head coach, "he should be the first assistant hired."