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December 8, 2008

Locksley to be named New Mexico head coach

Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will be the next head coach at New Mexico, Rivals.com has learned.

Locksley has been offensive coordinator at Illinois since 2005 under Ron Zook. Before that, Locksley was running backs coach/recruiting coordinator at Florida from 2003-04. From 1997-2002, Locksley was an assistant at Maryland.

Locksley, 38, is a native of Washington, D.C., who played at Towson State from 1988-91. He is a renowned recruiter, luring the likes of receiver Arrelious Benn, cornerback Vontae Davis and quarterback Juice Williams - among others - to Illinois.

Locksley's 2007 offense became the third in school history to eclipse the 5,000-yard standard and the first to run for more than 3,000 yards as the Fighting Illini earned their first Rose Bowl bid since the 1983 season. Running back Rashard Mendenhall was the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year in 2007, while Williams has become one of the nation's most dangerous quarterbacks.

New Mexico is replacing Rocky Long, who stepped down after posting a 65-69 record and earning five bowl bids from 1999-2008.

Others who Rivals reported interviewed for the post include Florida assistant head coach Dan McCarney and Nebraska offensive coordinator Shawn Watson.

Locksley is one of four black head coaches in the FBS (Division I-A).

Tom Dienhart is a national senior writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at dienhart@yahoo-inc.com.

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