Maryland coach DJ Durkin to be reinstated after Jordan McNair investigation

BALTIMORE — The University of Maryland's Board of Regents recommended that the school retain football coach DJ Durkin following a two-month investigation into the culture of the football program.

The chairman of the board, James Brady, said in a news conference Tuesday that the board believes that Durkin failed to supervise strength and conditioning coach Rick Court but has been "unfairly blamed for the dysfunction in the athletic department."

"We believe that he is a good man, and a good coach," Brady said.

A report by 247 Sports prior to the news conference indicated that Durkin is expected to be on the sidelines Saturday when the Terrapins face Michigan State in College Park.

The board also recommended that athletic director Damon Evans remain in his role. 

University president Wallace Loh, meanwhile, announced that he will retire in June.

Tuesday's news conference brought a semblance of closure to a tumultuous four-month stretch at Maryland following the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair. McNair suffered heat illness during a May 29 workout and died June 13, and subsequent media reports described the culture within the program as "toxic."

While the independent commission determined that Maryland did not have a "toxic" culture, its report did detail several disturbing incidents and dysfunction within the athletic department. The commission concluded that that Maryland had "a culture where problems festered because too many players feared speaking out."

The report made no recommendation related to whether Durkin should be retained and the Board of Regents met multiple times in closed sessions over the last week.

Durkin, 40, was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 11, pending an investigation. Court resigned in August. 

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been the interim head coach. With Durkin sitting out, Maryland is 5-3 and 2-2 in the Big Ten. 

Much of the report presented to the Board of Regents highlighted the tactics of Court – Durkin's first hire when he was hired as head coach – that included “excessive profanity," “fat-shaming” and questionable workouts he led. 

“Frustrations were shared about the intensity and length of practices and workouts, insufficient recovery time, and the aforementioned issues with Mr. Court,” investigators wrote. “While many acknowledged Mr. Durkin is a fiery and effective motivator and communicator, they felt he could better inspire players if he made a greater effort to listen to their concerns."

Investigators spoke with 55 student-athletes who were coached by Durkin at Maryland, 60 current or former staff members of the athletic department and the parents of 24 players.

Contributing: A.J. Perez

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