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Mike Locksley wouldn't be where he is today without the Boys & Girls Club originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Maryland head football coach Mike Locksley has come a long way from his childhood, rising through the coaching ranks to become one of the best recruiters of the DMV in college football and the leader of his local program.
Locksley may not have always known he wanted to get into coaching, but he still points to his early experiences as a defining part of his life and why he was drawn to this profession.
He has never shied away from the fact that for him, coaching is about far more than winning and losing. It's about shaping the lives of young men and helping prepare them for adulthood. And that mindset was instilled in Locksley through his involvement in the Boys & Girls Club of America.
"The impact that the Boys & Girls Club had on my life, you can’t put a value on it in my opinion," Locksley told NBC Sports Washington as part of the series The Give. "I grew up in a single-parent home with just my mom, and we all know you grow up as a young man wanting to emulate your dad. And my mom was always working, so I was raised in the Boys & Girls Club. And spent my whole childhood being reared in the Boys & Girls Club. And because of that, the coaches we had became like the father figures for me. And it’s funny, I never thought of it until I became a coach, but I gravitated towards coaching mainly because of the impact that the coaches and the people that ran the Boys & Girls Club had on me and my life."
Locksley grew up going to the Police Boys & Girls Club, number four, and he spent countless days there developing relationships that lasted a lifetime. He even thanked them in his introductory press conference after being named the Maryland head coach, pointing to their influence in his life.
While it was the coaches that inspired Locksley to pursue coaching as his own profession, it wasn't just sports that kept him coming back to the club.
"From the time I was six, seven years old we played every sport, we lived there, we had lunches there, we had parties there, it was just a safe haven for all of us to go to," Locksley said. "And there’s no doubt in my mind if it wasn’t for the Boys & Girls Club and my affiliation with it, I probably wouldn’t be a coach and I probably wouldn’t be sitting here leading the Maryland football program."
Sadly, many of the local clubs are struggling to stay afloat. Locksley's own club is no longer operating, which is one reason why his efforts to support the organization are so vital.
"I know for me in the D.C. area, a lot of the Boys and Girls Clubs have kind of become defunded. They were under the metropolitan police department, and I know where I grew up going to the club that one is no longer there," Locksley said. "It’s really important for me to see how and what I can do to help maybe bring it back. I think it’s about putting stuff out like this and using this platform I have and even partnering with Eastern Motors in terms of giving back to the community. That's the part that’s important."