“I don’t know if would have been the case if it were another coach,’’ Allen added, pointing out that the Locksley-McNair family connection was a crucial step in accepting the former on campus. “I did say all along that whoever leads this program going forward, it’s important that they understand our past in order to move forward, and the fact that he knows the McNair family, and that they’ve shared a mutual experience, will hopefully give him a sense of understanding that other people may not have.”Locksley on Thursday gave every sense that he has that. Perhaps more importantly, the tacit thumbs-up from Jordan McNair’s family gave the sense Maryland understands this wasn’t just an ordinary opening it was filling.”I want to create the right culture and environment,” Locksley said, “and winning will follow.” MORE: ‘Distraught’ Maryland players should be proud of season”I have been a mentor for Marty, and Marty has been a sounding board for me the last year and a half as we’ve worked through dealing with the emotions and the toughness of losing a child,” Locksley said after onlookers applauded the elder McNair. “And man, Marty, you and Tonya (Marty’s wife and Jordan’s mother) are rock stars, and I appreciate you taking the time out being here to help me celebrate me coming home. It means the world to me.”It’s not unreasonable to believe Maryland couldn’t have gotten the school, students and fans on board with this hire if the McNairs weren’t. Even as Locksley’s name surfaced last week as the front-runner for the position, there was enough skepticism from alumni and students to keep him from being as widely embraced as Maryland would have liked him to be.But the ties between the McNairs and Locksley were strong enough — rooted in shared tragedy and grief — to not only make the hire look logical, but also to override the red flags from Locksley’s disastrous tenure as New Mexico’s head coach from 2009 until his firing early in 2011. That tenure not only saw Locksley go 2-26 as head coach but also saw him presented with an age and sex discrimination complaint and be suspended for getting into an altercation with a member of his own staff.The homecoming theme struck on Thursday, however, was strong. Locksley’s a D.C. native who played collegiately at Towson. He’s a recruiting legend in the D.C. metro area, was an assistant at Maryland in two stints totaling 10 seasons and three head coaches and coached the last six games in 2015 after Randy Edsall was fired … and before DJ Durkin’s hire. His star rose again on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama in the three years since leaving Maryland, where he won the Broyles Award in 2018 as the nation’s top assistant.Everything he was part of at College Park in the past (“I’ve seen the good, bad and ugly of Maryland”) is still just a skip across the mall compared to what the school, athletic department and football program largely brought upon themselves the past six months.One of the people most deeply involved in the hiring, university president Wallace Loh (who attended the news conference but did not speak), is retiring at the end of the academic year in the wake of the scandal. The school will be adjusting to his replacement as Locksley’s first season approaches … and around the anniversary of McNair’s death.As of Thursday, the McNair family was still considering, but had not filed, lawsuits over their son’s death. Marty McNair left the introduction soon after it ended, without speaking to reporters. Some nine months before Jordan McNair’s heatstroke-related death, in September 2017, Locksley’s son Meiko, 25, was shot to death in the Maryland suburb of Columbia; the murder remains unsolved.”For Marty and myself and Tonya and Kia (Locksley’s wife), we have a common bond,” Locksley said. “When you lose a child — the circle of life isn’t built for parents to bury kids.”MORE: Jordan McNair timeline: Series of events that led to DJ Durkin’s firingThe families already knew each other because Jordan McNair and Locksley’s daughter Kori were classmates and athletes at the same Baltimore high school. Locksley had begun recruiting McNair at Maryland before leaving for Alabama. As he said, the two families aided each other through their grief, and Locksley echoed what those around the Maryland program — particularly interim coach Matt Canada — repeated all season: The grief would not go away at a convenient time and would be respected at all times.Ironically, with the aspects of Locksley’s coaching past questioned as much as they were, Locksley wanted to see the school he kept calling his “dream” job satisfy his concerns as well.”When the opportunity presented itself to have the ability to come here and be the leader of this family,” he said, “there was nothing that could stop me from wanting to take this job — other than confirming that all the pieces were in place for this program and this family to be successful.”After meeting with Dr. Loh, meeting with Damon (Evans, the athletic director), meeting with the search committee, I really felt comfortable that everyone was pulling in the right direction, pulling together to see this thing through the tough times.”Everything about Locksley’s hiring and the backing he’ll get is connected to the upheaval from McNair’s death, and the family’s ever-present reminder of the greatest fear a parent can face. Judging how angered and traumatized the students were — there were numerous protests, complaints and demands from groups and individuals surrounding the ill-fated and short-lived decision to give Durkin his job back — they were closely watching the hiring process as well.MORE: Durkin disaster reminds Maryland Big Ten is too big for it”I think it’s important that we move forward as a united campus community,” Student Government Association president Jonathan Allen said after Locksley’s news conference. “You saw the representation here, whether it’s from the Board of Regents, the (university) system leadership, state political leadership and top donors, students administration, community members. COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Plenty of people in and around the University of Maryland and its football program — in positions of political and financial power in the state and among the fan base — were already sold on Mike Locksley as the coach to steer the program’s recovery from the disaster surrounding Jordan McNair’s death.A few minutes into Locksley’s introductory news conference on Thursday, he solidified that feeling by establishing his connection with McNair’s family, calling on McNair’s father, Marty, who was standing in the back of the crowd of supporters on the practice field at Cole Field House.
Brooks Koepka, who finished tied fourth at Portrush, leads the way going into the St. Jude.Dustin Johnson won by six strokes in Memphis last year. Following his achievement at the links course in Northern Ireland, the 32-year-old has opted to skip this week’s PGA Tour event in Memphis. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy to take part in skins event in Japan, report says Can’t wait to come home tonight. It’s going to be a really special night https://t.co/wMx2bq2YrW— Shane Lowry (@ShaneLowryGolf) July 23, 2019Lowry’s win saw him move up to 18th in the FedEx Cup standings but, by withdrawing from the field at TPC Southwind, he forfeits the chance to move further up the leaderboard. Related News British Open 2019: Shane Lowry reflects on stunning turnaround to victory British Open champion Shane Lowry has withdrawn from the St. Jude Invitational.Lowry ended his wait for a first major title with a stunning performance at Royal Portrush, winning by six strokes. read more