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D.J. Durkin is keeping his job at Maryland.
Maryland board of regents chairman Jim Brady announced Tuesday that Durkin would be reinstated as the team’s head coach. Brady’s statement came as the school announced that the board accepted an independent investigation’s findings that there was dysfunction within the athletic department.
That investigation came after Durkin had been placed on administrative leave in August following reports on Maryland’s culture in the wake of offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death in June.
Durkin, athletic director Damon Evans and president Wallace Loh all accepted that they shared responsibility for the dysfunction in the athletic department, according to Brady. All are keeping their jobs, while Loh is retiring at the end of the school year.
Durkin ‘unfairly blamed’
A report from the investigation released last week said the program under Durkin “lacked a culture of accountability, did not provide adequate oversight of the football program, and failed to provide Mr. Durkin with the tools, resources, and guidance necessary to support and educate a first-time head coach in a major football conference.”
“We believe that coach Durkin has been unfairly blamed for the dysfunction in the athletic department,” Brady said. “And while he shares some responsibility it is not fair to place all of it at his feet.”
Brady said Durkin had been “incredibly forthright” when talking to regents. He said Durkin was committed to implementing changes for the football program.
“We believe he is a good man and a good coach,” Brady said.
Maryland released statements Tuesday evening confirming that Durkin was the team’s coach immediately.
“D.J. Durkin is our head football coach and has all the customary responsibilities along with it,” Evans said. “Coach Durkin is focused on ensuring that there is a smooth transition and his priority is the well-being of our student-athletes.”
According to ESPN, Durkin met with the team on Tuesday. The meeting did not go well.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to rejoin the team and very much appreciate having the support of the Board of Regents,” Durkin said in a statement. “Our thoughts have and will continue to be with Jordan’s family. I am proud that the team has remained united and represented themselves and the University well during this difficult time. As we move forward, I am confident that our team will successfully represent the entire University in a positive way both on and off the field.”
The Washington Post also reported that Loh felt he had no choice but to accept the board’s recommendation that Durkin be reinstated even though he felt Durkin should not be retained.
Matt Canada has been Maryland’s interim coach
According to August reports, Maryland’s football program was accused of having a “toxic” culture. The independent investigation did not use the word “toxic” but concluded that the program had administrative failings.
Maryland is Durkin’s first FBS head coaching job. He came to the school in 2016 after serving as Michigan’s defensive coordinator. He has a career 10-15 record with the Terrapins. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been serving as the team’s head coach in Durkin’s absence.
Durkin was present in May when McNair collapsed during a conditioning workout. McNair died two weeks later and Maryland’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death showed that mistakes were made in the school’s response to the heatstroke that McNair suffered.
McNair’s family has said they wanted Durkin removed from his position as the team’s coach. Brady said any potential litigation from the McNair family was not a consideration in its decision to keep Durkin and Evans.
The school fired strength and conditioning coach Rick Court – Durkin’s first hire – in August. The report released last week said Court was “effectively accountable to no one” and detailed accusations of mistreatment by him.
Durkin’s contract at Maryland goes through 2020.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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