Maryland fires football coach DJ Durkin after massive backlash over his reinstatement

Maryland fired head football coach DJ Durkin on Wednesday, one day after his reinstatement. University president Wallace Loh announced the decision in a statement Wednesday night.

"This is not at all a reflection of my opinion of Coach Durkin as a person," Loh said in his statement. "However, a departure is in the best interest of the University, and this afternoon Coach Durkin was informed that the University will part ways.

"This is a difficult decision, but it is the right one for our entire University."

In a statement provided to USA TODAY Sports, Rep. Anthony G. Brown, D-Md., called Durkin's dismissal "the right decision that had to be made if the (University of Maryland) community was going to ever move forward."

"President Loh was the only leader who had the moral fortitude to accept responsibility for Jordan McNair’s death, and I believe he will continue to act boldly and guide the Athletic Department to a safer, more sustainable future that students, student-athletes, and the University of Maryland family can be proud of.”

Durkin was fired without cause, according to university spokesperson Jessica Jennings. Under the terms of his contract, Durkin would be be owed about $5.5 million. Because the agreement is silent on Durkin having any obligation to find another job, or Maryland being entitled to any offset of that amount, the university likely will have to pay him all of the money.

The agreement was set to run through Dec. 31, 2021, and Durkin would be owed 65% of the $7.8 million remaining on his the deal, or $5.07 million. He will also be owed roughly two months of his $500,000 annual base salary, along with a portion of the $2 million he is receiving as consideration for participating in TV and radio shows, endorsements and for making appearances on the university’s behalf. That comes out to roughly $377,000.

Durkin had returned to his position after more than a two-month absence based on the recommendations of the University of Maryland board of regents. The decision to retain Durkin was met with disapproval from figures ranging from the governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, to the father of former Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died following an offseason workout during the spring.

“I feel like I've been punched in the stomach, and somebody spit in my face," McNair's father, Marty, said Tuesday after Durkin's reinstatement. 

In a statement issued earlier on Wednesday, Hogan said he believed “very strongly that more must be done to restore the public trust. I am calling on both the University System of Maryland Board of Regents and President Wallace Loh to reconsider their decisions and to schedule a public hearing to address these issues in an open and transparent manner.”

According to multiple reports, several Maryland players walked out during Durkin’s first speech to the team upon his return on Tuesday.

Durkin, who went 10-15 across two seasons, was placed on administrative leave in August following an ESPN report detailing a culture of humiliation and intimidation inside the Maryland program. Maryland promoted offensive coordinator Matt Canada in Durkin’s place. The Terrapins are 5-3 overall and 3-2 in Big Ten Conference play.

Contributing: A.J. Perez and Steve Berkowitz. Follow USA TODAY Sports' Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg.

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