D.J. Durkin, head football coach at the University of Maryland, was placed on paid administrative leave Saturday as the school investigates claims of abuse and actions which may have led to the June death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair.
The Randallstown, Md. native collapsed during an outdoor team workout on May 29 and died two weeks later. ESPN is reporting his death to be the result of an official heatstroke.
On Sunday, Governor Larry Hogan shared his thoughts on the matter:
Wallace D. Loh, president of the University of Maryland, issued his own statement Saturday sharing "I am profoundly disturbed by the media reports yesterday about verbally abusive and intimidating conduct by Maryland football coaches and staff towards our student-athletes on the team."
Loh also announced Matt Canada will serve as interim head football coach.
Durkin is preparing to enter his third season at Maryland. The team begins the 2018 season September 1 at home hosting Texas.
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After allegations of abuse came to light Friday, Maryland football head coach DJ Durkin was placed on administrative leave effective immediately, Maryland Athletic Director, Damon Evans announced Saturday evening.
In his absence, Matt Canada will take over as interim head coach.
Maryland & AD Evans released a statement on the decision:
University of Maryland's President, Wallace Loh, issued this statement about the football program soon after:
Of all the headlines a Terps fan could have seen on ESPN, “The inside story of a toxic culture at Maryland football” is just about as bad as it gets.
In the aftermath of the death of 19-year old offensive lineman Jordan McNair, much has been made of whether or not the coaching staff should be held at fault. Outside investigations have been or are currently happening, and reporters have done their best to get the inside scoop.
In the meantime, no major changes have been made by leadership in College Park. In fact, a move was made to maintain the status quo when interim Athletic Director Damon Evans was promoted to the same position in a permanent status
While not every investigation is complete, there were major developments Friday afternoon, as ESPN released an article detailing a “toxic culture” behind the scenes, including several eyewitness accounts of the day Jordan McNair suffered his heatstroke.
The anonymous sources, which included both staffers and players, went into detail both on that fateful day and on the general ugliness surrounding the program. Stories shared include humiliation, verbal abuse, and more.
Strength and conditioning coach Rick Court is the most frequently named member of the coaching staff, though head coach D.J. Durkin’s name arises as well, and he and Court are described as like-minded.
The specific examples given paint both coaches in a bad light, and while Maryland hasn’t yet made any personnel changes, they have already announced that some staff members have been placed on administrative leave. It remains to be seen whether or not wholesale changes are coming, but given the current climate surrounding abuse, coupled with the unfortunate death of a young man, it’s hard to imagine everyone keeping their jobs moving forward.