Maryland places head coach Durkin on leave
Maryland placed head coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave Saturday while the school scrutinizes allegations of poor behavior by the football staff, apparent misdeeds that came to light following the death of a player.
In an open letter, athletic director Damon Evans wrote: “At this time, the best decision for our football program is to place Maryland head football coach DJ Durkin on leave so we can properly review the culture of the program.”
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada will serve as interim coach.
Earlier Saturday, the head of the football team’s strength and conditioning staff was placed on paid leave while the school investigates claims he verbally abused and humiliated players, according to a person briefed on the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Maryland had not announced the decision regarding Rick Court.
Maryland has also placed two athletic training staffers it did not identify on leave as it investigates the death of Jordan McNair. The 19-year-old offensive lineman was hospitalized May 29 after a team workout and died June 13. Dr. Rod Walters, a former college athletic trainer, has been hired by Maryland to investigate the circumstances of the death. A report is expected by Sept. 15. McNair’s parents are being represented by Baltimore attorney Bill Murphy, whose firm is also investigating.
In his open letter, Evans wrote: “The external review into the tragic death of Jordan McNair continues, and we have committed to releasing publicly the report being prepared by an independent and national expert.”
ESPN reported that head football athletic trainer Wes Robinson and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall were placed on leave by Maryland.
An ESPN story on Friday quoted unidentified players, former players and former members of Durkin’s staff, who contended Court and Durkin created a toxic culture within the program.
Maryland head coach DJ Durkin walks the sideline during the 2016 Quick Lane Bowl against Boston College in Detroit. Maryland placed the head of the team’s strength and conditioning staff on paid leave while it investigates claims he verbally abused and humiliated players.