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University Of Maryland Fired Football Coach One Day After Reinstating Him

Former UMD Coach DJ Durkin

NBC News

D.J. Durkin, the head football coach at the University of Maryland, is fired Wednesday, October 31, one day after the Board of Regents had reinstated him following a suspension after freshman player Jordan McNair died in June.

According to For The Win, the criticism against Maryland for bringing Durkin back was swift and ample, coming from current Terrapin players, McNair’s parents and the media. On May 29, McNair was hospitalized for heat stroke and exhaustion during a team workout, and on June 13, he died at age 19.

What Happened?

According to Testudo Times, former University of Maryland football coach D.J. Durkin has been fired. The decision was made one day after the school’s Board of Regents reinstated him through an announcement on Tuesday, October 30.

The news of Durkin’s firing was first reported by The Washington Post’s Rick Maese, who later reported that the school is not firing him for the cause but rather buying him out of his contract.

“The chair of the Board of Regents has publicly acknowledged that I had previously raised serious concerns about Coach Durkin’s return,” UMD President Wallace Loh said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”

According to ESPN, Loh “acted alone in deciding to fire Durkin, a source told ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, not consulting the board of regents. Loh informed athletic director Damon Evans of his decision and Evans fired Durkin. Durkin was ‘surprised’ by the school’s decision, the source said.”

A Maryland player told ESPN’s Tom VanHaaren that Evans informed the team Durkin was fired in a team meeting. The player said no one asked any questions.

“We feel gratified that some justice has been done, that Dr. Loh took it upon himself to do the right thing,” Marty McNair, Jordan’s father, told SportsCenter on Wednesday night.

Maryland offensive lineman Johnny Jordan was McNair’s roommate, and he spoke to reporters Wednesday after learning Durkin was fired, saying: “The right decision was made for justice for Jordan.”

These past 5 months have been the most difficult times of my life and I’ve learned a lot. The people who stuck with me through it all I will be forever grateful to. Those who didn’t, thanks for the “support.” Justice for Jordan has been served. #JordanStrong #79Forever pic.twitter.com/f1pd1jaIkp

— Johnny Jordan (@bigjohnny73) November 1, 2018

Every Saturday my teammates and I have to kneel before the memorial of our fallen teammate. Yet 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. It’s never the wrong time to do what’s right. pic.twitter.com/AaZVmLGTtS

— Ellis McKennie (@emck_cubed97) October 30, 2018

Who Is D.J. Durkin?

Durkin is the former football head coach for the University of Maryland. Before Maryland, he was the defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan.

He had been on administrative leave since August 11 as the University System of Maryland Board of Regents oversaw an investigation into his program and coaching methods after media reports detailed allegations of bullying and abuse at the hands of Durkin and strength coach Rick Court in the wake of Jordan McNair’s death in June. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who joined the staff in January, was elevated to interim head coach in Durkin’s absence. Canada is returning to that position.

Durkin was placed on administrative leave since August 11. He came back to the team on Tuesday and was present at Maryland’s practice. Three players walked out of the team’s first meeting after Durkin returned. According to Athletic CFB reporter Bruce Feldman, another group of players was absent from practice Wednesday.

This reversal comes on the heels of calls from across the state for the University System of Maryland Board of Regents to reconsider its decision to recommend Durkin and AD Damon Evans return to their posts. Governor Larry Hogan was one such official.

University President Wallace Loh made the decision amid growing outrage from faculty, students and lawmakers. NBC’s Tom Costello reports for TODAY.

According to the event page on Facebook, the “Justice for Jordan” rally will still be held on Thursday, November 1 at 3:30 P.M. to “support the McNair family and student-athletes in our Maryland Terp family.”

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