DJ Durkin Fired After Maryland Governor Larry Hogan Rips School

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2018

Maryland head coach DJ Durkin speaks at the Big Ten Conference NCAA college football media days in Chicago, Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Annie Rice)
Annie Rice/Associated Press

The University of Maryland fired head football coach DJ Durkin after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan expressed his anger at the initial decision to reinstate him.

Adam Rittenberg of ESPN confirmed Maryland elected to fire Durkin on Wednesday. The school's Board of Regents announced its recommendation to bring him back on Tuesday following an investigation into the program's culture after offensive lineman Jordan McNair died.

Hogan released a statement saying he was "deeply troubled by the lack of transparency from the Board of Regents" and also called for a board and school president Wallace Loh to hold a public hearing to address concerns.

Hogan was not the only Maryland politician to raise concerns about how the situation was handled prior to his firing.

"Coach Durkin should be fired. Director Evans should be fired," Congressman Anthony G. Brown said, per David Ginsburg of the Associated Press. "The University of Maryland athletic staff failed Jordan McNair, and on Tuesday the USM Board of Regents failed him again."

Ginsburg noted Delegate Maggie McIntosh, who is also the chair of the Maryland House Appropriations Committee, called for a Nov. 15 hearing in the effort to establish more transparency into the decision-making process. What's more, the Executive Board of the Maryland Student Government planned a rally Thursday to express its outrage.

McNair suffered heatstroke during a May 29 workout and died on June 13. Durkin was placed on paid administrative leave, while interim coach Matt Canada led the team.

"We believe that Coach Durkin has been unfairly blamed for the dysfunction in the athletic department," board chair James T. Brady said, via Heather Dinich and Adam Rittenberg of ESPN.com. "While he bears some responsibility, it is not fair to place all of it at his feet."

Much of this stems from an August report from Dinich, Rittenberg and Tom VanHaaren of ESPN.com highlighting the "toxic coaching culture" within the program.

Politicians weren't the only ones to express their disappointment before the firing, as offensive lineman Ellis McKennie tweeted, "A group of people do not have the courage to hold anyone accountable for his death. If only they could have the courage that Jordan had." 

Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic reported some players walked out of meetings with Durkin, and Jordan McNair's father, Marty McNair, said, "I feel like I've been punched in the stomach and someone spit in my face," per Tom Schad of USA Today.

Hogan was one of the latest to add his voice of disapproval following the controversial decision for Maryland to keep its 10-15 football coach, and Durkin will no longer be on the sideline after this turnaround.

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