Telly Lockette Leaving Miami Central High for University of South Florida
I want to congratulate Telly Lockette. He's getting an opportunity that great high school football icons such as Walt Frazier and Billy Rolle were never afforded. Lockette is the first African-American coach from a Miami-area high school to land a job with a major college program. On Monday, University of South Florida Bulls head coach Willie Taggart added Lockette to his staff as running backs coach, according to CBS Sports reporter Bruce Feldman.
The 37-year-old Miami Northwestern alum has an impeccable football resumé. During his four-and-half-year run as the head coach at Miami Central Senior High, Lockette was the first coach in Miami-Dade history to take his team to three consecutive state title game appearances, winning two championships. No team from Miami-Dade or Broward has beaten Lockette's Rockets since 2009, when the Miami Northwestern Bulls beat Central.
Throughout his career, Lockette has coached some of the best running backs to come out of Miami-Dade, from Antwain Easterling to Devonta Freeman to Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook. During his tenure at Miami Central, roughly 70 of his players have signed scholarships to big-name programs, from Florida State to Oklahoma to Syracuse to Clemson.
I was hoping the University of Miami would hire Lockette following a long tradition of bringing in high school coaches that began under Howard Schnellenberger. In the 1980s, he hired Joe Brodsky, then-head coach at Hialeah-Miami Lakes, to be the running backs coach. Brodsky went on to coach the tailbacks for the Dallas Cowboys under Jimmy Johnson. Dennis Erickson continued the tradition by hiring Don Soldinger as running backs coach.
But, for whatever reason, the Hurricanes passed on Lockette, allowing Taggert to swoop in. No question, the USF coach made a big power move.
Lockette will recruit any kid from South Florida he wants. For instance, Lockette grew up with the parents of the student athletes who are playing high school football. That makes him valuable. And all the high school football head coaches will rally around Lockette. Seeing him land an NCAA coaching gig gives them hope other universities will come knocking on their doors.
A lot of high school coaches aspire to get to a college coaching job. But universities in Florida have a problem hiring high school coaches from Miami-Dade. It's not like Texas, a state that has established a tradition of elevating high school coaches to the collegiate level.
If Lockette succeeds in getting the top players from South Florida, he'll give the Bulls a leg up on every other college. That's why the high school coaches will want Lockette to do great.
I hope his success will get other universities in the Sunshine State, from FSU to UM, to jump on the high school head coaches bandwagon.
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