The University of Maryland has long been recognized as one of the leading public research universities in the United States. With an enrollment of over 50,000 students specializing in engineering, social sciences, and other top programs, UMD has solidified its standing as one of the top public universities in the country.
But there is something else the College Park school is known for. They’re the first Power Five school to have a Black president, athletics director and head football coach. In fact, until last year, they were the only one to have that distinction. They have since been joined by Temple University’s all-Black leadership group.
Maryland Terps Football First To Have Black President, AD and Head Coach
But the Terps set the trend, by doing so with Darryll Pines, Damon Evans, and Mike Locksley.
Evans, the school’s athletics director, is the longest-tenured of the trio, having been at the school in some capacity since 2014. He served as interim athletic director from 2017-18, before being named to the position permanently.
In 2019, Evans hired Mike Locksley as the head football coach, giving the Washington, D.C., native a chance at what he called his “dream job.”
In 2020, Dr. Darryll Pines was installed as the school president. The move produced a shock wave, with UMD now having African-Americans in arguably the three most prominent roles at the school.
In a 2020 interview with Yahoo Sports following Pines’ installation, Evans had this to say.
“We all know the responsibility that we carry as Black men in these leadership positions,” Evans told Yahoo Sports. “Not only the responsibility to the institution as a whole in carrying out our jobs, and the responsibility to our communities, but we also have a responsibility to grow the pool of minority candidates and to help others rise through the ranks to be able to achieve what we’ve been able to.”
Football Is Top Revenue Maker At Any University, Winning Is Vital
In hiring Locksley, Evans made a wise choice. Known for his recruiting prowess, especially in the DMV, Locksley has turned a once-dormant program around with back-to-back winning seasons and bowl game wins. This despite some major struggles at New Mexico where “Locks” was the head coach for a little over two seasons, going a measly 2-26. There were other factors in his demise, but when a Black coach isn’t successful he rarely gets a second chance, but Locks did get one, and he’s making the most of it.
Speaking with Yahoo Sports, Locksley talked about that very thing.
“The lack of success for the most part many of us have had as Black coaches relates to the timeframe in which we get to try to turn a program around,” Locksley said. “We haven’t been afforded those opportunities of five year at one position to really build it and grow it the way that you need to when the jobs that some of us take or have to take to open up. So there’s no doubt there’s some things that hinder our ability to have the success we need to keep that door open for others.”
That’s what Evans and Pines have allowed Locksley to do, and thus far he hasn’t disappointed in College Park. Being given ample time and recourses are invaluable, and if that’s honored, there could be many more of these melanated trios around college at the Power Five levels and not just at HBCUs.
"It's in our DNA here at the University of Maryland to lead the charge."@CoachLocks talks about his responsibilities leading @TerpsFootball & representing UMD. #B1GBHM
Listen to the roundtable with Coach Locksley, @Evans_TerpsAD & @President_Pines: https://t.co/hTZJasGsgw pic.twitter.com/NqjwO0vkPB
— College Sports on SiriusXM (@SXMCollege) February 16, 2022
Young People Seeing Blacks In Leadership Is Vital
With the racial divide the country has experienced heavily since the George Floyd murder, seeing someone who looks like you in a leadership role is comforting for young blacks. That’s what you see at UMD, with this trio and based on how they speak of it, they embrace it and the challenges that come with it.
While those obstacles won’t get any easier, Pines, Evans and Locksley welcome the daily grind it takes to run a school, athletics program and rising football program.
Watch @President_Pines discuss how @umdARLIS and @UofMaryland are tackling today's grand challenges in his interview with @NGA_GEOINT: https://t.co/o0vvqOQijf
— UMD Research (@UMDResearch) February 6, 2023
Maryland definitely set the trend and the Temple Owls followed. Who’s next?