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Maryland fires D.J. Durkin

A day after announcing that he had been reinstated, the University of Maryland has decided to fire head football coach D.J. Durkin according to multiple reports.

After an investigation of the football program following the death of player Jordan McNair, the University of Maryland Board of Regents recommended that Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans be reinstated to their positions.

The decision didn’t sit well with the players, with some walking out of his first meeting and others skipping his first day back at practice on Wednesday.

Politicians from the state, including the governor, released statements condemning the decision to keep Durkin. McNair’s family also had spoken of their issues with him being retained as head coach.

The decision to fire Durkin was made public via a letter from university president Wallace Loh to the Maryland community.

Here is the letter:

Dear University of Maryland community,

I am writing to inform you of actions I am taking that are in the best interest of the University of Maryland.

Yesterday, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents announced numerous recommendations, including employment decisions about specific personnel on our campus. I accepted the Board’s recommendations. At the same time, I announced my retirement as president in June 2019. 

Since returning to campus after yesterday’s press conference, I have met with the leadership of the Student Government Association speaking on behalf of numerous student organizations; the Senate Executive Committee; Deans; department chairs; and campus leadership. The overwhelming majority of stakeholders expressed serious concerns about Coach DJ Durkin returning to the campus.

The chair of the Board of Regents has publicly acknowledged that I had previously raised serious concerns about Coach Durkin’s return. 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, 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. I will devote the remaining months of my presidency to advancing the needed reforms in our Athletic Department that prioritize the safety and well-being of our student-athletes. 


Wallace D. Loh


This decision came from Loh, who will retire at the end of the academic year, and Evans, who thought to move on from Durkin was the best possible move a day after the Board of Regents suggested they keep him.

Durkin was not fired for cause. Per Durkin’s contract:

Should Maryland terminate Durkin without cause, it would pay him 65 percent of his remaining contract. Half of the buyout would be paid to Durkin through a lump sum within 60 days, while the other half would be paid out through installments in normal university payroll intervals.

Maryland is 5-3 this season without Durkin and is 3-2 in the Big Ten Conference. Matt Canada has been coaching the team in Durkin’s absence and will resume that role.


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