The University of Maryland has decided to keep head football coach D.J. Durkin employed following the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair in June. Along with Durkin, athletic director Damon Evans and university president Wallace Loh will also continue in their current positions at Maryland. Loh announced, however, that he will resign in June of 2019.
In late May, redshirt freshman Jordan McNair collapsed during a team workout from heatstroke. Two weeks later, he passed away. Following the player’s death, an investigation was conducted to look into the athletic culture at the university. According to an ESPN report, people close to the program have deemed the culture “toxic,” and the belittling of players “common.”
Despite the findings, the University System of Maryland board of regents placed a high priority on keeping Durkin in place, according to ESPN. Loh was against the decision but eventually sided with the board.
Board of regents chairman Jim Brady announced the board’s opinion on Tuesday, recommending that Durkin keep his job.
“We believe that coach Durkin has been unfairly blamed for the dysfunction in the athletic department,” Brady said.
Brady acknowledged that Durkin had some responsibility in the death of McNair, but should not be wholly blamed. He went on to say that Durkin was “a good man and a good coach” with “much still to learn.”
McNair’s Family and Friends React
McNair’s parents were hurt by the university’s decision to keep Durkin in charge of the football team.
“I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach and somebody spit in my face,” said Marty McNair, Jordan’s father.
Maryland offensive lineman Ellis McKennie also spoke out, putting the following statement on Twitter:
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. pic.twitter.com/AaZVmLGTtS
— Ellis McKennie (@emck_cubed97) October 30, 2018
During a meeting with Durkin on Tuesday, several players “walked out.”
Three players walked out of the Maryland team meeting with DJ Durkin this afternoon, a person with knowledge of the situation told @TheAthleticCFB.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) October 30, 2018
The University of Maryland football team has a long road to recovery. With Durkin at the helm, it will be difficult for the team to recruit talent. Also, Durkin has the job of getting his current players back on his side.
Durkin will be in charge of the Terrapins’ next game against Michigan State this weekend. The game will kick off at noon.