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Maryland players walk out after football coach DJ Durkin reappointed following investigation, workout death of Jordan McNair

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Published by NY Post, 31 October 2018 on foxsports.com.au

THE university president is on his way out. The football coach is somehow on his way back. And several players walked out of a meeting with said coach after the news was broken to them.

The Maryland Board of Regents has recommended the school retain football coach DJ Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans following an investigation into allegations of abuse within the program.

Meanwhile the school president, Wallace Loh, announced Tuesday he will retire in June. The Board of Regents only had the power to fire Loh, and there were reports he was against the recommendation that was made regarding Durkin and Evans.

“We believe coach Durkin has been unfairly blamed for the dysfunction in the athletic department,” said Jim Brady, the regents board chairman. “He has acknowledged his role in the athletic department’s shortcomings.

“We believe that he is a good man and a good coach.”

Durkin returned immediately to practice Tuesday and met with the team — and several players, starters included, walked out, according to ESPN.

Along with athletic trainers Wes Robinson and Steve Nordwall, Durkin had been placed on administrative leave on Aug. 11. The day before, ESPN produced an explosive report of abuse in the program.

That included the June 13 death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who passed away from heatstroke during a team workout on May 29. Strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigned after reaching a settlement with the school.

Among the accusations included players being bullied, degraded and belittled, having weights thrown at them, food knocked out of their hands and frequent verbal abuse.

There were multiple investigations into the program, which produced different accounts of players and parents regarding Durkin, a first-time head coach. Some believed he wasn’t provided enough support from administration, while others, such as McNair’s parents, have called for his firing.

“When I think of DJ Durkin, all I can remember is him sitting at our kitchen table assuring me that he would take care of my son,” McNair’s father, Marty, previously told ESPN.

“And he did anything other than that. I think he should be relieved of his job. I don’t think he should be allowed to coach anyone else’s child, in an environment like this. My child died there. That’s something we’ll never get back. That’s a wound that will never heal.”

Offensive co-ordinator Matt Canada has served as the interim coach in place of Durkin, leading the Terrapins to a 5-3 record.

 

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