DJ Durkin has been reinstated as the head coach of the Maryland Terrapins football team as recommended by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents.
Durkin had been on administrative leave since Aug. 11 as two independent investigations went on about the football program under Durkin’s leadership. Offensive lineman Jordan McNair collapsed during a May workout and was admitted to a hospital where he died two weeks later. The university launched its first investigation stemming from McNair’s death. As that investigation started, an ESPN report alleged a “toxic” culture within the program under Durkin with players detailing a stressful environment in which they were belittled by the coaching staff. Shortly after the report, Durkin was placed on administrative leave.
The commission looking into the program for an alleged “toxic culture” found Maryland did not have a toxic culture but instead instilled fear to players to speaking out against the behavior of coaches. Their findings were detailed in a 200-page report.
Athletic director Damon Evans will also be returning to his role at the university. However, school president Wallace D. Loh is planning to retire in June in wake of the controversy.
The board of regents strongly urged Loh to allow Durkin and Evans to return. According to Maese’s report, the regent “made it clear” to Loh that he had no other option in the matter. Loh obliged despite his urging the school needed to move on from Durkin. The board has no authority to hire and/or fire a football coach.
— Rick Maese (@RickMaese) October 30, 2018
Durkin will be return to practice this week and will be on the sideline Saturday when the Terrapins will face Michigan State.
Maryland enters that game 5-3 and needing one win to become bowl-eligible. The Terrapins had been coached by interim coach Matt Canada in Durkin’s absence.
The decision is certain to draw mixed reviews from all involved, including within the Maryland players and their parents. Recently, a group of parents stated they had no desire for Durkin to return to the program. One parent went as far as saying “We are worried that this narcissistic sociopath is going to come back. To me, he should never coach again,” per Nicole Auerbach of the Athletic.
In an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, Jordan McNair’s dad, Martin McNair, said Durkin “shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid.”