A now-legendary story has been floating around about new Maryland head coach DJ Durkin and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, dating back to the time when Harbaugh was the head man at Stanford and Durkin worked under him as an assistant.
MLive.com Michigan beat reporter Nick Baumgardner recounted the story when Durkin was hired to coach the Wolverines’ defense last year:
During his time at Stanford, Harbaugh hit the basketball court with his young defensive ends coach -- 15 years his junior -- for a friendly game of one-on-one.
About 90 minutes later, the friendliness stopped and the blood started pouring.
Elbows. Shoves. Forearms. Shoulders. Just about everything but actual, you know, basketball.
"It took like an hour and a half, and it ended 4-3 or whatever," recalls former Stanford offensive tackle Ben Muth. "Neither of them would call a foul. Someone did in the first five minutes, the other guy made fun of him, so it was on from there.
"It was like that James Caan 'Rollerball' movie, basically a fight to the death."
In an interview with Jim Rome on FOX Sports Radio Tuesday afternoon, Durkin verified some of the details of that famous game between the two that has been used as an anecdote to illustrate the heart and fight of both.
“There’s a lot of truth to that,” Durkin said with a laugh. “I don’t know the exact timing of the game, but it was probably close to 90 minutes.
“It was ugly basketball, let’s put it at that, and I was obviously an assistant coach and I believe in having good job security, so in the end I think Jim pulled that one out. But there was no fouls being called and there was a lot of blood on the court.”
Rome followed up, asking whether Harbaugh “pulled it out” or if Durkin let him win. He answered with a chuckle.
“I’ll let you be the judge of that.”