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RCT Meet the New Staff; Kerry Locklin

Early in December the news came down that the old man was returning to Manhattan.  Bill Snyder the engineer of the greatest turnaround in college football history would once again roam the sidelines for Kansas State.  With that news we at Rock Chalk Talk quickly speculated and then confirmed that Joe Bob Clements would join his former coach at his alma mater and depart from his one year stint as the defensive line coach at the University of Kansas.

I’ll admit I didn’t know what to think at first.  Joe Bob had only been in the saddle for a year, he had some success recruiting but it’s no secret that our defensive line wasn’t a strength this year.  After some brief chats with both recruits and players it was apparent that this was an area where we could likely improve with the change.  Even some Kansas State fans seemed less than thrilled at the return of Joe Bob and with that said Kansas was on the hunt to upgrade the defense with a new line coach.

Early in the process I had an inside track on a few names, Locklin was one of them.  Interestingly his profile and the other two reported finalist were very similar.  The bar was set around and the team was looking for an experienced coach and one that had shown the ability to coach players up.  Another important factor was in balancing the staff a bit providing another “players coach” to the equation. 

With the decision now set and Locklin on board, what do we know about him?  What type of experience does he bring to the table?  What successes has he had and how might this impact our product on the field down the road?

Full Story after the jump…


For starters a little background on Locklin is certainly in order.  Locklin was born Sept. 9th 1959 in Las Cruces, NM.  After spending his high school career at Rockdale High School in Texas he headed back to his home state and attended New Mexico State where he was a 4 year letter winner earning AP All America honors interestingly at the tight end position.  His football career would continue in the NFL with a pair of brief stints one with the Rams the other with the Denver Broncos.  All said and done it was time for Locklin to fall into coaching. 

Here is a quick rundown of Locklin’s coaching years to date.

1988                             New Mexico                             Running backs Coach

1989-1994                     Morehead State

1995-2000                     Eastern Michigan                      Defensive Line Coach

2000-2008                     Fresno State                              Defensive Line Coach  

As you can see in 1988 Locklin began his coaching career at New Mexico as the running backs coach.  A short stint at Morehead State followed before he would take on the role we will know him at as the defensive line coach at Eastern Michigan. 

While I wouldn’t call his time at Eastern Michigan the most successful in the programs history it was fairly successful at his area of expertise.  In looking at the school records for statistics related to the defensive line a few things stand out.

4 out of 10 of the most successful seasons in school history as far as Tackles for a Loss at Eastern Michigan, happened while Locklin oversaw the defensive line.  The list includes the top ranked season in 1999 just prior to his departure to Fresno.

In addition 4 of the top 7 Sack Totals by an Eastern Michigan defense in a season also came in the Locklin era.  This list includes the top 3 seasons in 98’ 99’ and 95’ respectively.

Moving on to Locklin’s most recent experience we head out west to Fresno State and one of the strongest era’s in the school’s history.  In his time with the school Locklin coached some of the most successful players and units in the schools history much like he did while at EMU.

In his first season at Fresno in 2000 Locklin coached a pair of solid defensive lineman to some very strong individual performances.  Allen Harper Fresno’s first ever WAC Defensive player of the year recorded 21.5 sacks that season and also earned 2nd team All America Honors from the AP, Sporting News and Football News.  Amazingly Garrett McIntyre also from that team recorded more sacks with 26.5 and was an all WAC performer.

In 2001 4 players from Locklin’s unit earned All WAC honors.  Harper, Nick Burley, Clarence Denning and Jason Stewart anchored the defense that would eventually rank 18th in the nation and tops in the WAC in scoring defense.  Nick Burely emerged as another sack specialist in this unit recording 25 sacks on the season making him the 3rd player in Locklin’s era that would ultimately rank in the top 5 of all time sacks at the school.

Further on down the line Locklin and his defensive line would help apply pressure for the number 4 ranked pass defense in the country during the 2004 season. 

Much like his time at EMU Locklin’s teams would end up appearing all over the school record books.  6 of the 10 all time TFL’s in a season belong to teams Locklin coached.  The 2003 team holds the school record with 90 in one year.  As a team Fresno State participated in 7 bowls in Locklin’s 8 years and needless to say the defense was a big part of that success.

Looking back maybe Locklin doesn’t have the resume that jumps of the page and maybe he hasn’t coached many huge names, but he has been very successful in producing some of the top talent and top results wherever he’s been.  I recently spoke to a recruit who will be joining the defensive line next year and he is very excited at the prospect of playing for Locklin saying, “I like what he brings as far as developing players, he seems to be a coach that will have good relationships with his players and I think he’ll help out in recruiting.” 

Those three thing right there sum it up for me.  Joe Bob no doubt was a likeable guy and that was clear from everyone I spoke to.  However, I don’t think many felt challenged and I don’t think they felt they were being developed the best they could.  Obviously the results will have to speak for themselves on the field but I think Kansas has again upgraded the staff here much like they did with Miller.  We’ve found another coach that can provide the guidance and development players want, act as a motivator to his players and also give a recruiting boost in two areas with his Texas and California connections.