Mike Locksley is one of 14 Black head coaches in FBS, and he is hopeful that there will be more in the near future. The second-year Maryland coach has formed a nonprofit organization to address the issue called the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches. The group will help identify and groom minority college and professional coaches, as well as develop a list of candidates that should be considered for future job openings. There are currently three Black head coaches in the NFL.
"When I took the Maryland job last year and looked at the landscape of college football, I thought to myself, 'There's something missing. I'm on the back nine of my career and the pathway to becoming a head coach is still as difficult as when I got into the business in 1992'," Locksley told NFL.com. "I wanted to create an organization that would be able to help prepare, promote and produce the next group of coaches coming up through the ranks at every level."
The 11-person Board of Directors will be charged with vetting and maintaining a qualified list of candidates. That Board of Directors includes many high-profile college football and pro football names, including Alabama coach Nick Saban. Locksley served on Saban's staff from 2016 first as an analyst and then as offensive coordinator.
Here's a full list of the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches Board of Directors:
- Ozzie Newsome: Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, College Football Hall of Fame and first Black general manager in the NFL
- Nick Saban: Alabama Crimson Tide coach
- Bill Polian: Former general manager for the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts
- Mike Tomlin: Pittsburgh Steelers coach
- Doug Williams: Former Washington quarterback and Super Bowl XXII MVP
- Oliver "Buddy" Pough: South Carolina State Bulldogs coach
- Willie Jeffries: College Football Hall of Fame coach and first Black coach in Division I football (Wichita State)
- Chris Grier: Miami Dolphins general manager
- Debbie Yow: Former women's basketball coach at Kentucky, Oral Roberts and Florida
- Rick Smith: Former Houston Texans general manager and former assistant coach at Purdue and with the Denver Broncos
- Desiree Reed-Francois: UNLV athletic director, former UCLA rower and the first hispanic athletic director for an FBS school
"These are all people that have either hired head coaches or coordinators or filled upper-level positions throughout their careers," Locksley said. "They all have been at the top of the mountain, per se, in their respective areas, whether winning Super Bowls or national championships or being pioneers, like Debbie Yow and Willie Jeffries. We want to use their experiences to help us formulate and produce the list of qualified candidates, so when people say there aren't enough minorities to fill the positions that have come open over the years, we're going to produce a list of qualified people that shows there are qualified people. What's needed is opportunities."
Locksley got the job at Maryland after leading Alabama's offense to a whopping 7.76 yards per play in 2018 -- second nationally behind Oklahoma. Former Alabama and current Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 3,966 yards and 43 touchdowns en route to finishing second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind former Oklahoma and current Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray.
Locksley was the co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Alabama in 2017 when Tagovailoa entered in the second half of the College Football Playoff National Championship to lead the Crimson Tide to a 26-23 win over Georgia.
The 50-year-old Locksley went 3-9 in his first season with the Terrapins. He was 2-26 in three seasons at New Mexico from 2009-11.