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University of Maryland reverses course, fires D.J. Durkin as head football coach

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University of Maryland reverses course, fires D.J. Durkin as head football coach

The University of Maryland is changing its course. A day after the university decided to reinstate D.J. Durkin as head football coach, the Board of Regents is reversing course, firing Durkin on Wednesday night, a university spokeswoman told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.

The backlash to Maryland's decision was swift and loud. Whether or not that led the University to change its decision is not yet known. But what is known is that university president Wallace Loh was in favor of firing Durkin, with the board of trustees forcing his hand to keep Durkin. What we also know is that several Maryland football players walked out of the Tuesday press conference out of anger and disgust.

Even Maryland governor Larry Hogan urged the university to reconsider its decision to retain Durkin as head football coach on Tuesday afternoon. The third-year coach was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 11 following the June death of sophomore offensive tackle Jordan McNair.

Hogan was direct in suggesting Maryland to strongly reconsider its choice. "University leadership still faces the considerable challenge of restoring the trust of students, families, and faculty, and proving that there is and will be accountability for any actions that adversely impact student welfare and the standing of our flagship university," Hogan said, via the Associated Press.

"The addition of an oversight board seems to be a positive step, but many will understandably question whether enough has been done to address the serious concerns that exist among many in the College Park community -- I am one of them."

Late Wednesday night, Loh issued a letter to the University of Maryland community.

Dear University of Maryland community,

I am writing to inform you of actions I am taking that are in the best interest of the University of Maryland.
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.
Sincerely,

Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland

The university is not firing Durkin with cause, according to Rick Maese. Instead, the school will buy out Durkin of his remaining contract. 

Matt Canada, who has led the Terps to a 5-3 record in Durkin's absence, will remain head coach on an interim basis.

The Terrapins host Michigan State on Saturday at noon.

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Report: Yale grad transfer Jordan Bruner considering Maryland among final three

Report: Yale grad transfer Jordan Bruner considering Maryland among final three

With the Terps facing the potential losses of two key scorers to the NBA Draft, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Yale is considering joining the Maryland roster for his final season of NCAA eligibility.

According to Evan Daniels of 247Sports, Bulldogs power forward Jordan Bruner has narrowed down his list of preferred transfer destinations to Maryland, Alabama and Baylor. ESPN ranked Bruner the third-best graduate transfer in the country following a season in which he led the Ivy League with 9.2 rebounds per game to go with 10.9 points and 3.7 assists.

The Terps are expected to lose Anthony Cowan Jr. (graduating) and Jalen Smith (NBA Draft) after claiming their first share of the Big 10 regular-season title in program history this season. Forward Ricky Lindo Jr. also entered the transfer portal. Smith started 30 games as a forward and led UMD with 10.5 rebounds per game.

Bruner originally declared for the NBA Draft on March 13 but reconsidered his position after the coronavirus pandemic put the sports world at a standstill. Five days after announcing his intent to go pro, he put his name in the transfer portal.

Per the Yale Daily News, Bruner received calls from 25 different programs within three hours of having his name in the portal. He reportedly trimmed his original list of 50 schools down to six—Maryland, Arkansas, Baylor, Gonzaga, Alabama and Louisville—before narrowing it down to the three Tuesday.

Injuries hit Bruner hard throughout his Yale career, including two meniscus tears—one of which forced him to miss all of his sophomore season. However, the 2020 All-Ivy First Team selection finally stayed healthy this year and only sat two games due to injury.

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Maryland lands commitment from 4-star LB Demeioun Robinson

Maryland lands commitment from 4-star LB Demeioun Robinson

Four-star linebacker Demeioun Robinson announced his commitment to Maryland on Friday, giving Terps head coach Mike Locksley his highest-rated commitment from the class of 2021.

Robinson, who attends Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg, Md., is the No. 16 player in his class on the ESPN Jr. 300 rankings and No. 20 on 247Sports.

Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia and Texas A&M were also vying for Robinson's commitment. But in the end, the top-ranked recruit from the state of Maryland decided to stay home.

RELATED: Demeioun Robinson's outlook on life changed after brother's death

The Terps began their recruitment of Robinson last summer, according to 247Sports's Maryland blog, giving Maryland an important leg up -- particularly in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with NBC Sports Washington's Julie Donaldson this week, Locksley talked about how his staff communicates with recruits during a time of social distancing.

"We do a lot of recruiting in the afternoon," Locksley said. "Whether it's FaceTime phone calls to recruits, direct messaging, and then we kind of get back together later in the afternoon as a staff just to see if there's any new updates on anything."

Robinson joins St. John's College High School's Taizse Johnson as Maryland's 4-star commitments from the class of 2021.

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