Looking to get its boys basketball team back on the winning track, Franklin High School’s athletic department announced this week that they’ve selected the man to lead them in that direction.
Coppin State University alumnus Kyle Locke, whose career resume includes 15 years of coaching experience along with a prestigious collegiate and prep career, will pilot the Indians boys hoops program in the 2012-13 season.
The 38-year-old takes over for previous head coach Kieran O’Connell, who—after five years at the helm—stepped down to pursue an administrative position, Franklin athletic director Rich Reed said.
“We’re looking for coach Locke to get the boys program back in the right direction and rejuvenate excitement for winter sports,” Reed said. “I think he has a demanding presence once you meet him and his basketball knowledge is outstanding.”
Locke served as an assistant coach for the women’s program at his alma mater from 2001-2009 before a one year stint in the same role at Washington University. His first three years as a coach were spent on the men’s staff at Community College of Baltimore County - Catonsville from 1998-2000 and he returned to the junior college ranks as an assistant at Howard Community College last year. Locke has also coached teams at the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) level.
Eager to assume his first role as a prep coach, Locke articulated that while the high school game may be a new frontier for him, the game of basketball is the same regardless of age, gender or location.
“For me, it’s just doing what I do. It’s all the same whether it’s men or women,” Locke said. “You’re teaching the same thing. It really comes to down to the personnel, the different kinds of players. Teaching the game is universal.”
Given his success within the game, one would think that Locke’s players will have no trouble buying in to his methods of instruction.
A Philadelphia native, Locke scored 1,400 points in high school and led his Roman Catholic squad to back-to-back league championships in 1991 and 1992. In his four years at Coppin State, the Eagles won four straight regular season titles, including a conference championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1993. Locke earned a spot on the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference All-Rookie team that season.
Standing at a daunting 6’6”, Locke may look intimidating, but, utilizing a soft spoken tone, the coach says he strives to be calm and levelheaded on the court.
“I’m not really a ‘get in the face’ kind of coach, ranting and raving up and down the sidelines,” Locke said. “For me, that’s just not my style. I’m more of a guy that just tries to talk to a kid instead of talk at him…I get my point across very well and I can do that without screaming and yelling.”
While harping on defense will certainly be a cornerstone, Locke isn’t set in his ways as a coach when it comes to offensive schemes for his players. Rather than live and die by one particular system, he says he’s going to be flexible and tailor his gameplans to the player personnel within the program.
“That’s what my philosophy is going to be about,” Locke said, “learning my kids and learning what I have and what I don’t have and kind of formulating an offense that will be conducive to that.”
Hungry to make an instant impact and change the culture of boys hoops at Franklin, Locke knows he has to be realistic in what he can accomplish early on. However, he realizes that the amount of support provided by the surrounding community will only aid the transformation.
“You just have to lay down that foundation and hope that you put your philosophy in and hope that the kids will buy into it,” Locke said. “Normally when that happens, great things come from that.
“Franklin, from what I’m hearing, it’s a great community. There’s a lot of support there and I think that’s big too. If you don’t have that support, it can make your job that much harder. I’m looking forward to learning the environment, being a part of the Franklin community and just teaching kids how to play ball. Hopefully we can send some kids to college and win some games.”