So maybe there’s more to college coaching than recruiting?
For years it was agreed that nobody was a better college recruiter than D.C.’s own Mike Locksley. He was responsible for developing a pipeline of gridiron talent from the District to whatever school hired him as an assistant. Two examples: When Locksley was at Maryland, he landed Dunbar’s Vernon Davis, now of the San Francisco 49ers. Davis recently signed a contract that made him the highest paid tight end in NFL history. And when Locksley moved over to the University of Illinois, he brought in Dunbar’s Vontae Davis, Vernon’s little brother and a future Miami Dolphins’ first-round pick.
But after years atop the recruiting game as an assistant, Locksley was given his first head coaching job by the University of New Mexico before last season. And he’s been a disaster. He had sexual discrimination suits and assault charges filed against him within his first few months at the school. A prize recruit from Coolidge was found to be ineligible, but not until after heading out to New Mexico to join the team.
And now he’s in the middle of another brouhaha over whether he bullied a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo, the student newspaper, in a local bar after the kid wrote that the program was in “shambles.” (How many NCAA horror stories begin with “Coach walks into a bar…”?)
The school insists that no low blows were delivered by the Lobos coach during the encounter, but Locksley and New Mexico administrators made the situation much worse by obtaining the security video of the incident and then hiding it.
Still, as we learned from Bobby Knight, any and all misconduct of this sort would be fine, if only the Lobos could win now and then. But the Lobos are losing ugly. Last weekend’s 56-14 trouncing by Utah put Locksley’s squad at 0-3. The Lobos have been outscored 180-31. That puts Locksley’s career record as a head coach at 1-14.
“Shambles” seems kind.