The Billings Outlaws had their official jersey and Schedule release party last night. It was a packed house bringing some sponsors, players, and fans together to officially introduce the new head coach Kerry Locklin.
A Look at Coach Locklin
Coach Locklin had an NFL career that started as a player in 1982 with the Los Angeles Rams and he also played with the Denver Broncos in 1987. His coaching career started in 1988 as a running backs coach for Western New Mexico. In 1990 he became the offensive line coach for Morehead State. Rex Ryan was named the Defensive Coordinator that same year. They coached together for the next three years.
The Best Offense is a Good Defense
From 1995-1999 Coach switched over to the defensive side of the ball when he coached at Eastern Michigan. In 2000 Coach Locklin found his way out west when he landed on the defensive staff for the Fresno State Bulldogs. I lived in Fresno during this time and remember the Bulldogs having some amazing seasons during this stretch.
I had the privilege of having a conversation with the new coach and when I asked him about those days at Fresno State his face lit up! He said “ we are going to bring that same Bulldog mentality to the Billings Outlaws” Now my face lit up because those Bulldogs teams during that stretch from 2000-2008 were fun to watch!
Coach Locklin’s success during this time and his previous connection to Rex Ryan landed him on Ryan’s defensive staff for the New York Jets in 2009. The Jets went 9-7 that year. They snuck into the playoffs as a wild card team, and won their next two playoff games but fell short in the AFC championship. Coach Locklin announced to the packed house that he’s “not going to predict wins & losses, but with the names on the roster, we should be competing for a championship.”
Practice Facility and Schedule
Owner Steven Titus was in the house as well. He announced that the team does have a plan for a practice facility, and will hopefully announce that location sometime next week. The Sportsplex in Billings was the team’s practice facility last season but was recently sold. Mr. Titus also spoke about the difficulties the first four weeks of the season present.
The Outlaws start the season with one of three bye weeks. Then hit the road to take on the Omaha Beef in week 2. Last season these two teams combined for 88 points in a narrow road victory for the Outlaws. Weeks 3-4 are home Monday night games against Topeka and Rapid City. Steven Titus stressed the importance of Outlaw Nation showing up on these Monday night games to show support for the team.
The Future is Bright for The Billings Franchise
Games are typically played on Saturday but due to scheduling conflicts with the MetraPark, the Outlaws will have back-to-back Monday Nighters. This will be the first full year for new Owner Steven Titus who also owns the Wyoming team. He took over for a failed ownership group that brought back the Outlaws to Billings but did so on broken promises and lies.
He inherited a huge mess from that ownership group. He spoke to the crowd about the importance of mending relationships and creating trust within the community. I can vouch for Mr. Titus and this new ownership group. Not only am I a super fan but I’m also a sponsor. I was a sponsor last year as well and unfortunately, we were taken advantage of by the previous owner.
Steven Titus reached out to me the very next day he was awarded the team. He explained everything that had happened and how he would fix it. Since that phone call, I’ve seen a night & day difference in how this organization is run. Outlaw Nation I’m here to say we are in great hands!!
Eddie Hamilton, defensive lineman, and QB Jamario Benson were also in attendance along with the Lady Outlaws to showcase the new jersey’s for the 2023 season. I asked Eddie Hamilton what he thought of the new uni’s and he said “they look cool, I just want to hit somebody in it already“ The remainder of the squad should be in town around February 20th.
By Stephen Foster
Billings Outlaws Correspondent
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