Stevens: Locksley's Tie To Boys & Girls Club Goes Back To Boyhood Roots
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  03/03/2011
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

March 3, 2011

1st & Goal Gala Benefit - Friday, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
5:30 p.m. registration - 6 p.m., Meet & Greet Celebrities - 7:15 Dinner/Awards/Auction

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

There is no doubt that many coaches, celebrities, athletes tie themselves to a charity because of the PR value. It looks good. It shows they have a heart. For Lobo football coach Mike Locksley, his ties to the Boys and Girls Club seeps deep into his roots.

It's where he used to hang.

"I've been a Club kid since I was five, six-years-old," said the third-year head coach for the University of New Mexico. "This charity is close to my heart. It's very real for me.

"If I wasn't home when my mother came home from work, the first place she looked was the club."

The Club in the Washington D.C. area was a good place to hang out. The D.C. Metropolitan police ran it, and there were rules enforced by good people, who believed in rules.

Locksley remembers a few times going without a cap because it was taken away. You don't wear a head cover indoors at the D.C. Club. Same rule applies for Locksley's Lobos.

"This is something I believe in because I've seen the results first hand," said Locksley. "So many of the skills I use today came from being a Club member. I took a resume-building class there at 16. I remember taking an etiquette class there and learning which fork to use and where to put your napkin.

"This isn't something I just decided to do as the Lobos head coach. I've been involved on the board of directors or have been active with a Club everywhere I've coached. I'm aware and I'm appreciative of what the Club has meant to my life."

The Boys and Girls Clubs have a mission with many arms. They prepare kids for a better tomorrow by keeping them safe today. They provide services in many areas including recreation, education and guidance. They promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging, responsibility, accountability and much more.

But there also is a key element of these Clubs that stands out in these times of economical challenge. As Locksley put it, the Clubs are a safe haven. They pull kids out of empty homes or dangerous streets and provide safety and opportunity.

"You go into the background of any Club and one thing that stands out is how all the Clubs have the same feel to them," said Locksley. "You have kids who want to be there, who feel welcome there, who feel safe there.

"It's a haven when kids coming home to working parents or single parents have a place to go. You can go there and get a snack, get help with your homework and be around good people who taught you right from wrong."

Locksley benefited from his Club experience and is reaching out to give back. If you want to help him help the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albuquerque and Rio Rancho, call Rene at 505-881-0777.

The event is called the Second Annual 1st-and-Goal Gala. It will be held Friday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The fund raising will include a live and silent auction.

Numerous NFL standouts and local celebrities will be present including former Lobos Hank Baskett, Quincy Black, Ryan and Erik Cook, and Don Perkins. The banquet also will include Andre Carter, Arrelius Benn, Vontae Davis, Chris Leak, Juice Williams Lamont Jordan, Chad Scott and Arthur Jones.

Other notable celebrities are UFC fighter Rashad Evans, John "Bone" Jones and Carlos Condit. Registration starts at 5:30 p.m. The event will begin at 7 p.m. The VIP reception starts at 6 p.m. The Car Shop Dealership is a sponsor of the 1st and Goal Gala.

Tickets are $150 each or $250 includes a ticket to the VIP reception as well. Tables of 10 are available for $1,500. Tickets can be purchased online at www.boysandgirlsabqrio.com. For more information, contact Rene at 505-881-0777.