SportsMaryland Terrapins' Coach Locksley emphasizes faith and community

Maryland Terrapins’ Coach Locksley emphasizes faith and community

Regardless of the outcome of the games the Maryland Terrapins play during football season on a given Saturday, Head Coach Mike Locksley said that he likes to be in the church with his players the following Sunday. 

That is why Locksley was ecstatic that Maryland’s Red and White game, as part of the annual Maryland Day event on April 27, included First Baptist Church of Glenarden’s Pastor John K. Jenkins and Zion Church’s Pastor Keith Battle as honorary coaches. He said it was wonderful to have two pillars in the community and faith leadership connect with the student-athletes on the field.

“I have been to both of their churches, and my dad was a member of First Baptist of Glenarden. And because of the location of Zion Church in Greenbelt, a bunch of our players go there,” said Locksley, who grew up in the DMV. 

He said that he was taking athletes to church long before he came to College Park. 

“My taking players started back with Grandma Adeline, who raised Vontae and Vernon Davis.” 

Vontae Davis, who played in the NFL for more than 10 years and made it to the Pro Bowl twice, was found dead of natural causes on April 1, according to the Davie County, Florida Police. 

Locksley said after recruiting Vernon Davis to Maryland the first time he coached there, his grandmother told him, after he recruited Vontae Davis to Illinois, he had to keep up the practice of bringing students to church. 

“I told her that I would, and I did,” said Locksey. “It became a thing when we had 35 to 49 players going to church, and the next thing you know, we are going to the Rose Bowl. I’m telling you we are talking the next day, and part of that next step is having a foundation behind faith.” 

Before the game, Battle talked to members of the Terrapins Red Squad in the locker room. 

“My main objective is to support the vision of Mike Locksley,” he said. Battle explained Zion ministers come to campus on Friday nights to lead the campus community in Bible study and check-in on their welfare. 

After the April 27 game, MJ Morris, a sophomore quarterback who transferred to Maryland from North Carolina State, asked Battle about attending services at Zion. 

“He asked me ‘Where is your church?’ [And] several players said I’ll see you at church tomorrow,” Battle told The Informer. 

The Zion Church pastor said even though his Red Squad didn’t win, he was happy that none of the players got hurt and, as is thankful as players at Maryland they, “can be in a place where they can grow.” 

As the White Squad’s guest coach, Jenkins, said, “I told the team that it was important for us to win, and they did.” 

Jenkins emphasized that participating in such events is all about community connections. 

“It’s about fellowship and the community. It’s a state school where students can get a good education,” Jenkins told The Informer.

Source: Washington Informer


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