Mike Locksley heads into the 2018 college football season as Alabama’s new offensive coordinator. Given the popularity of Nick Saban’s coaching tree, it is not uncommon for the Crimson Tide to start each season with at least one new coordinator. Locksley brings with him a lot of coaching experience, including serving as the head coach at both Maryland and New Mexico.
Locksley and his wife, Kia, have three sons (Mike Jr., Meiko and Kai) and a daughter (Kori). Their son Meiko passed away back in 2017. USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin spoke about what Locksley brings to the table as a coach.
“He talked about how much he’s learned from Nick Saban and the way coach Saban runs the program,” Martin explained to AL.com. “Mike’s one of the more creative, innovative, smart coaches that I’ve been around, and I really think that his time at Alabama has made him better. That’s a good sign for him and a good sign for Alabama.”
Learn more about Alabama’s new offensive coordinator.
1. Locksley Was Promoted to Alabama Offensive Coordinator in 2018
Locksley was hired by Alabama in 2016 as an offensive analyst. In January of 2017, Locksley was promoted to co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. Just a year later, Locksley was promoted again as the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator. According to ESPN, Locksley turned down an offer from Willie Taggart to join the Florida State staff.
“He’s been a great addition to our staff,” Saban told SEC Country. “He’s been a coordinator before. He’s been a head coach. He’s great with the players. He’s a very good teacher. He’s a good recruiter. He’s got great knowledge of several offenses. Some of the stuff that we do were things that he was able to implement and have knowledge of. We’re excited about what he brings.”
2. Locksley Lost His Son in 2017 After He Was Shot
Locksley and his family suffered a major tragedy in 2017. According to SEC Country, Locksley’s son, Meiko Locksley died after suffering a gunshot wound. Nick Saban announced the news during one of his weekly press conferences.
“On another note Mike Locksley had a family tragedy. His son was killed,” Saban told SEC Country. “I just want everybody to understand that our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike, Kia and the entire Locksley family over this tragedy. We’ll do everything we can to support Mike and his family in this time of tragedy.”
Here are the details on Meiko Locksley’s death, per SEC Country.
An Alabama spokesman confirmed that it was Locksley’s son Meiko who was killed. Meiko Locksley was 25 years old. According to a news release from Howard County Police Department, Meiko Locksley suffered a single gunshot wound and was transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, where he was pronounced dead overnight. Police are still investigating.
3. Locksley Served as Head Coach at Both Maryland & New Mexico
Locksley is one of several members of the Alabama coaching staff who has previous head coaching experience. Locksley served as Maryland’s interim head coach for the final six games of the 2015 season. He was also the head coach at New Mexico from 2009 to 2011. Former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin spoke highly of Locksley’s abilities, and admitted he was surprised he did not get the position a year ago.
“Really helped us a lot,” Kiffin explained to SEC Country. “Very creative mind. Saw plays for a long time. I was actually surprised he was overlooked a year ago. He was sitting right there a year ago. Coach [Saban] went outside. They hired an NFL guy to come back to college. That’s always a gamble that, over time, has not worked a whole lot a hundred percent. These offensive coordinators go from the NFL, without a college background, to college. It’s like two different sports. So, I was kind of surprised he was overlooked.”
4. Locksley Is Known as a Top Recruiter
Not only does Locksley have head coaching experience, he has been recognized as one of the top recruiters in the country. Locksley’s Alabama bio detailed his recruiting abilities.
Locksley is also known for strong recruiting skills. He was listed as a top-25 recruiter in the nation three different times (2003, 2005, 2006) and was a finalist for 2007 recruiter of the year by Rivals.com. He also engineered top-10 recruiting classes during each of his two seasons (2003-04) as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Florida.
Locksley has recruited a number of players that have gone on to play in the NFL, including Stefon Diggs. Lee Hull coached with Locksley at Maryland, and witnessed his ability to lock up commitments.
“At Maryland, there were a lot of guys we got in recruiting that no one thought that we could get, but Mike did a great job,” Hull told AL.com. “I was recruiting Stefon Diggs before Mike got there and was doing a good job but just couldn’t get over the hump, but Mike came in and helped me and did a great job of just also building a great relationship with Stefon and with his parents and everybody that was helping him make a decision.”
5. Locksley Played Safety at Towson
In addition to his long list of coaching experience, Locksley was once a player. Locksley played safety at Towson, and was the team’s defensive MVP in 1991, per Alabama athletics. Locksley grew up in nearby Washington D.C., and ended up playing college football at home at Towson.
“I want to put D.C. behind me; it’s a trap. Not just Washington, but all inner cities,” Locksley told the Baltimore Sun during a 1991 interview when he was playing. “I want to get out and coach, but I’d go back to the cities and show the people there is a way out. A lot of guys in my neighborhood were good athletes, they just never got a chance. Sports are a way out, but the kids need direction, need counseling. I can use my experiences. I’ve seen both sides.”