Maryland fires coach DJ Durkin one day after his reinstatement

Maryland fires coach DJ Durkin one day after his reinstatement

Maryland has fired football coach DJ Durkin, the school announced Wednesday evening.

In a statement, president Wallace D. Loh said, “Yesterday, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents announced numerous recommendations, including employment decisions about specific personnel on our campus. I accepted the Board’s recommendations. At the same time, I announced my retirement as president in June 2019.

“Since returning to campus after yesterday’s press conference, I have met with the leadership of the Student Government Association speaking on behalf of numerous student organizations; the Senate Executive Committee; Deans; department chairs; and campus leadership. The overwhelming majority of stakeholders expressed serious concerns about Coach DJ Durkin returning to the campus.

“The chair of the Board of Regents has publicly acknowledged that I had previously raised serious concerns about Coach Durkin’s return. This is not at all a reflection of my opinion of Coach Durkin as a person. However, a departure is in the best interest of the University, and this afternoon Coach Durkin was informed that the University will part ways.

“This is a difficult decision, but it is the right one for our entire University. I will devote the remaining months of my presidency to advancing the needed reforms in our Athletic Department that prioritize the safety and well-being of our student-athletes.”

A Maryland player told ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren that athletic director Damon Evans informed the team Durkin was fired in a team meeting. The player said no one asked any questions.

The team was told that Matt Canada remains the interim coach.

Durkin, on paid administrative leave since Aug. 11, had been reinstated on Tuesday, following two separate investigations into the football program and five meetings and calls between the 17-member board of regents following the June 13 death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair from heatstroke he suffered at a May 29 workout.

The decision to reinstate Durkin had been met with outrage and protests by students, politicians, McNair’s family members, and even some of the players themselves.

“I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach, and somebody spit in my face,” said Marty McNair, Jordan’s father, who thought the USM board would “do the right thing.”

Ellis McKennie, an offensive lineman for the Terrapins, tweeted his displeasure with Durkin’s reinstatement on Tuesday night.

“Every Saturday my teammates and I have to kneel before the memorial of our fallen teammate. Yet a group of people do not have the courage to hold anyone accountable for his death. If only they could have the courage that Jordan had. It’s never the wrong time to do what’s right.”

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement questioning whether the university had done enough on Tuesday and on Wednesday doubled down, demanding that the decision be reconsidered.

Durkin went 10-15 in his two seasons as coach of the Terrapins, including a loss in the Quick Lane Bowl in 2016. He was hired by Maryland to succeed Randy Edsall in December 2015 after serving as defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh at Michigan. Prior to that, he was on the staff at Florida under Will Muschamp and Urban Meyer, who gave Durkin his first coaching job at Bowling Green, his alma mater.