University of Maryland football coach to exit following backlash over player's death

University of Maryland football coach to exit following backlash over player's death
© Getty Images

University of Maryland head football coach D.J. Durkin was dismissed Wednesday, the university said.

The announcement comes one day after the university announced it would retain Durkin even though one of his players died following a team workout earlier this year.


"A departure is in the best interest of the University, and this afternoon Coach Durkin was informed that the University will part ways," University of Maryland President Wallace Loh said in a statement Wednesday. 

Jordan McNair, a former Maryland offensive lineman, died in June from heatstroke that he suffered during a team workout in May, eventually prompting multiple investigations into the football program.

On Tuesday, the university's Board of Regents announced it would reinstate Durkin and Athletic Director Damon Evans following the investigations. One of the investigations followed allegations of a toxic culture in the football program. 

Durkin had been on leave since August while investigations were pending.

The decision to retain Durkin sparked criticism inside and outside the University of Maryland community, including from Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who on Wednesday urged the board to "reconsider" its decisions to keep Durkin and Evans.

“The university system of Maryland has let down the University of Maryland community and the citizens of Maryland, and now is the time to fix it,” Hogan said in a statement.

Marty McNair, Jordan McNair's father, told ESPN on Tuesday that he felt like he had been "punched in the stomach" when the board reinstated Durkin. 

"I feel like I've been punched in the stomach, and somebody spit in my face," he said.

In his statement Wednesday, Loh said he met with a number of members of the university community since Tuesday, including the Student Government Association, deans, department chairs and university leadership.

"The overwhelming majority of stakeholders expressed serious concerns about Coach DJ Durkin returning to the campus," Loh said.