The three finalists for the Maryland football head coaching job — Mike Locksley, Pep Hamilton and Matt Canada — all interviewed locally Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Locksley, top-ranked Alabama’s offensive coordinator, is known for his ability as a recruiter and has deep ties to the area. He was born in Washington and has worked at Maryland twice. He coached running backs from 1997 to 2002, and he returned as offensive coordinator from 2012 to 2015. Locksley served as interim head coach for the final six games of the 2015 season after Maryland fired Randy Edsall.
He had a disastrous tenure at New Mexico from 2009 to 2011 in his only experience as a head coach. Locksley led the team to a 2-26 record in his time there, and he was fired after four games of his third season. Locksley also had multiple off-field issues, including a physical altercation with an assistant coach and an age and sex discrimination complaint against him.
Locksley was recently named a finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach. The Crimson Tide won the SEC title Saturday with a 35-28 win over Georgia, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is a favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
Hamilton served as Michigan’s passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach this season and has worked on the Wolverines' staff since 2017. He has extensive experience in the NFL and spent three seasons as the Indianapolis Colts' offensive coordinator from 2013 to 2015. Hamilton, a North Carolina native, played quarterback at Howard University, where he also got his start as a college coach.
Canada, Maryland’s interim coach this season, has been praised for how he held the team together through chaos and turmoil in the wake of the June death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair. The Terps finished just shy of bowl eligibility with a 5-7 record, but Canada’s offense was impressive at times despite the loss of starting quarterback Kasim Hill to a season-ending knee injury in November.
Maryland conducted preliminary interviews with Canada and Hamilton last week, while Locksley remained with Alabama to prepare for the conference championship game.
The next coach will inherit a Maryland program that has been overwhelmed with controversy and turmoil since the death of the 19-year-old McNair. McNair’s death prompted two independent investigations, one that looked into the workout during which McNair suffered exertional heatstroke and another that examined the program’s culture. Since the summer, media reports outlined an abusive culture within the program, and the external investigation found that problems festered because players feared speaking out. The investigation into the program found organizational dysfunction within the athletic department that could have contributed to the football program’s issues.
The external investigation found that the Maryland athletic department did not give former coach DJ Durkin adequate resources to guide him in being a first-time coach, yet the finalists also lack experience in the top job. Hamilton has never led a program, and Canada only did so as the interim coach this season. Locksley has only his tenure at New Mexico upon which to lean.
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