ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -With New Mexico poised to introduce Mike Locksley on Tuesday, athletic director Paul Krebs said the school's next football coach has agreed to a six-year contract worth $750,000 annually.
Locksley, who turns 39 on Christmas Day, is taking his first college head coaching job. He'll be the fourth black head coach in the Bowl Subdivision.
He spent the past four seasons as offensive coordinator at Illinois and will replace Rocky Long, who resigned last month after 11 seasons as the most successful coach in New Mexico history.
Krebs, in his first public comments since Monday's hiring, called Locksley ``the total package.'' He said although Locksley hasn't turned 40, he brings a wealth of experience from top-level colleges.
Locksley, who also has coached at Maryland and Florida, said he will be ``very passionate'' about the New Mexico position.
in a statement. ``That's the responsibility of our coaching staff.''
Locksley will join Turner Gill of Buffalo, Miami's Randy Shannon and Houston's Kevin Sumlin as the only black head coaches among the 119 major teams.
The hiring was enthusiastically endorsed by the Black Coaches and Administrators. Executive director Floyd Keith said the organization was ``ecstatic over this great opportunity for Mike Locksley.''
``Mike has been an acknowledged talent on the collegiate coaching front,'' Keith said. ``This appointment will be a positive experience for all concerned.''
In announcing his decision to step down, Long said he wasn't confident he could take New Mexico to its first conference title since 1964. The former Lobos quarterback felt it was time for someone else to try.
Locksley has built a reputation as a top recruiter and turned Illinois into one of the nation's top offenses. The Illini ranked second in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in total offense this season, averaging 439.4 yards per game.
``Locks is the whole package,'' Illinois coach Ron Zook said. ``He can coach, he can recruit and he can motivate his players. He did a tremendous job with our offense here and will be missed.''
Illinois reached the Rose Bowl last season but was 5-7 this year.
Locksley grew up in Washington, and was a three-year starter at safety at Towson, where he was named the team's defensive MVP in 1991 as a senior. He started his coaching career at Towson in 1992, handling defensive backs and special teams.

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