COLLEGE PARK – The timing of Scott Shafer's departure from the Maryland program – squarely in the middle of the program’s spring practice schedule – put head coach DJ Durkin in a unique spot. Just as his players were acclimating themselves to a new staff, the program’s defensive coordinator stepped down.
But Durkin felt he only had one logical path forward.
“When the situation came about and we had to move forward with a guy, there was only one phone call I made. There was only one person I spoke to about this job and that was it,” Durkin said. “I knew in my mind who we needed to go with.”
That man was Andy Buh, Kentucky’s special teams coordinator and a man with whom Durkin has had a relationship stretching back to the time the two men spent together on Jim Harbaugh’s staff at Stanford from 2007-09.
And he was introduced as Maryland's new defensive coordinator in a press conference Tuesday in College Park.
Buh describes Durkin as his “best friend” and says the two kept in consistent contact throughout their coaching careers. He said the opportunity to reunite in a coaching capacity with someone he is that close with is rare.
Durkin was so set on Buh, he says, that if he had not accepted the job, he may have considered waiting until after the spring to fill the vacancy.
“When Coach Durkin approached me with the question, obviously my immediate thought process was, ‘Yes, I want to come,’” Buh said. “But, obviously, DJ knows me well enough and I know him well enough that we should sit on it for a day or so.”
More conversations between Buh and Durkin followed, along with conversations between Buh and his wife, Kelly, and Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops. And now he is here in College Park.
“We’re building a culture. We’re building a program right now with our guys and there’s a certain way we do things,” Durkin said. “It’s really, really important to me having the right people involved in our program.”
And Buh is the latest piece.