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March 4, 2013

Miami Central coach leaves for USF

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MIAMI - The first coach in Dade County history to lead his football team to three straight state championships has stepped away from the pursuit of a fourth to join USF.

Miami Central head coach Telly Lockette has accepted the running backs coach position on Willie Taggart's staff - and will start this week.

Lockette was a star RB at Miami Northwestern, and an assistant coach for the Bulls before taking the job with Miami Central. In three years, he went 27-3-1 and won two state titles.

Central was the only team to defeat Miami Booker T. Washington this year.

Lockette was praised by his peers for the opportunity.

"I think it's a great fit and I'm very happy for him and his family," said St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) head coach Rocco Casullo. "I like to see high school coaches get a chance (in the college level)".

Miami Southridge head coach Lamont Green, who's star defensive back Lamar Robbins will be heading to USF this fall, said the move was "great for him (Lockette)."

Sean Callahan, head coach at Armwood (Seffner) and the only team to beat Miami Cetnral in the state title game, said it was a great day for Lockette.

"Maybe we can win 6A now," Callahan deadpanned. "Seriously, I'm very happy for him and his wife and family. He is very deserving."

Lockette's team was told of his decision to take the position around 4 PM this afternoon. The news was first reported here after a tip from the Warchant staff. Florida State had offered Lockette a 'back-end' job on head coach Jimbo Fisher's staff.

Lockette said he made the decision after some prayerful reflection.

"I prayed about it and talked to my family," said Lockette. "It's an opportunity for me to do something I've always wanted to do."

"Coach (Willie) Taggart gave me an opportunity and it was too good to pass up."

Lockette will inherit the job held by former USF assistant Larry Scott who just departed for Miami. Scott was a tireless recruiter in Southeast Florida, and Lockette feels he'll be able to fill those shoes.

"It's a great advantage (in being a high school coach from Miami)," Lockette said. "They (USF) get a great guy who wants to help the kids in the southeast Florida area get into school." Two players that Lockette has coached for three years and will now be tasked with recruiting - are RB's Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook

Yearby recently flipped his commitment from Florida State to Miami and Cook is committed to Clemson.

"These two players are playing the position I coach," Lockette said. "This is a great opportunity for me to present some new ideas to these kids."

"It's a great opportunity for me to get a kid some exposure and coach running backs," Lockette added. "I would love for them (Yearby and Cook) to be South Florida Bulls.

Lockette was moved by the praise he received from his high school comrades.

"Hopefully I'll be able to work with them and help their kids," he said.

The official start date for Lockette has not been finalized.

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