FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, file photo, Maryland head coach DJ Durkin stands on the sideline during an NCAA college football game against Towson in College Park, Md. The University System of Maryland's board of regents announced Tuesday their recommendation that Durkin retain his job. Durkin has been on paid administrative leave since August, following the death of a player who collapsed during practice and an investigation of bullying by the Maryland coaching staff. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

University of Maryland Head Football Coach DJ Durkin to Remain in Charge

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.

What Happened?

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.

The Announcement

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:

During a meeting with Durkin on Tuesday, several players “walked out.”

Moving Forward

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.

About Joseph Erickson

Sports writer. Passionate about Premier League soccer, specifically Tottenham Hotspur.

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