The Maryland football program is just three weeks from its season-opener against the Texas Longhorns at FedExField, but questions are surrounding the Terrapins and head coach DJ Durkin. On Saturday, Aug. 11, the Terrapins placed Durkin on paid administrative leave as the university investigates the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and as reports of a “toxic culture” surround the program.
The 40-year-old Durkin has been head coach at Maryland since 2016. He had previously served as defensive coordinator at Michigan and Florida under Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer, respectively.
While Durkin is on administrative leave, offensive coordinator Matt Canada will serve as interim head coach. Athletic director Damon Evans announced the news stating the university is “extremely concerned by the allegations of unacceptable behaviors by members of our football staff.”
Early Saturday morning, the Terrapins announced that athletic trainer Wes Robinson, director of athletic training Steve Nordwall, and Rick Court, Maryland’s assistant athletics director for sports performance had also been placed on administrative leave, according to an ESPN report. The scrutiny comes after the death of Jordan McNair, who collapsed following a workout earlier this year.
McNair, a 6-foot-4, 325-pound offensive lineman, was hospitalized on May 29 following an organized team workout. McNair was airlifted to the local hospital after the session, though the university has remained quiet about the exact details that led to his hospitalization. While in the hospital, McNair received a liver transplant and was “fighting for his life.” He ultimately passed away in June from heatstroke at age 19.
Durkin now becomes the second prominent Big Ten coach to be placed on administrative leave with the season just around the corner. Earlier this month, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer was placed on leave amid reports that he knew of domestic violence allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith.