Mike Locksley the first to step off
The coaching carousel is back, and it’s not even October yet! Thank you Mike Locksley for getting us off to an early start on the 2011 coaching changes ahead of us.
We’ll get the official chart up and running shortly, but for now let’s recap what has happened, other than the fact that Locksley was such a train wreck of a head coach that New Mexico athletics director Paul Krebs said hiring Locksley in the first place was a mistake. We won’t pin too much blame on Krebs, because as Coaches By The Numbers says, “If you don’t dig much deeper than his interview (he’s a recruiter so we are sure his interview was very compelling) and his resume, you would think you were getting a dynamite coach.”
As far as the football part of the equation is concerned, Locksley was 2-26 dating back to 2009, and making a run to top Mike Sheppard’s inglorious run at 9-50. New Mexico started this season 0-4, with losses to Colorado State, Arkansas, Texas Tech and FCS Sam Houston State, a 48-45 overtime barn burner that needed a pair of New Mexico touchdowns in the final six minutes to force a tie game in to the extra session. Based on football alone, Locksley already had one foot out the door this season.
But Locksley’s problems spread beyond the football field and that was the ultimate breaking point for New Mexico.
Before the loss to Sam Houston State, police arrested Josh Butts, a 19-year old JUCO college football player, claiming to be a recruit of New Mexico’s for driving while intoxicated near University Stadium in Albuquerque. The SUV was registered to Locksley and a school official confirmed that the man borrowed a vehicle form Locksley’s son, a walk-on football player for New Mexico.
Butts’ JUCO coach, Jeremy Richardson, told the Albuquerque Journal that he was unsure what Butts was doing in New Mexico but that it wasn’t to play football. Why? “I thought he was a Division II football player at best.”
Ouch. To be fired for a mess over a guy that might be successful at the Division 2 level? That has to sting even more.
Locksley was relieved of his duties officially on Sunday, with New Mexico releasing a statement about the coaching change. Defensive coordinator George Barlow will serve as an interim coach for the remainder of the season while the program searches for someone, anyone who might be able to change the fortunes of Lobo football around in the right direction.