Just one day after he was reinstated as head football coach at Maryland, the university has parted ways with DJ Durkin, University President Wallace Loh announced Wednesday evening.
Maryland did not fire Durkin with cause, meaning they will need to pay him 65 percent of his current contract for buyout – a sum of over $5 million.
The decision comes after widespread backlash from players, parents, fans and politicians, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who issued a statement Wednesday afternoon asking the University System of Maryland Board of Regents to reconsider their decision to keep Durkin.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that University President Wallace Loh wanted to part ways with Durkin, but the board prioritized reinstating Durkin, and would have fired Loh had he not followed their recommendations.
At the board’s Tuesday news conference, Loh announced his retirement in June following the current academic year. He issued a letter to the university community Wednesday night.
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.
Media gathered to hear what Marty McNair, Jordan’s father, had to say about the decision following practice Wednesday evening. When asked if the student body’s response against the Board of Regents decision yesterday was amazing, Marty’s response was telling.
“The reason it [feels so good] is because Jordan was everyone’s son,” Marty said. “This could have happened to anyone playing football or any sport, and I think that was relatable for everyone … We don’t intentionally send our children to any situation that will be mentally demeaning, physically or emotionally demeaning, ever.”
Sophomore offensive lineman Johnny Jordan, McNair’s roommate, said he was glad there was now justice for Jordan.
“I feel like it was the right decision for the University and the football team moving forward,” Jordan said.
“The political response was so overwhelmingly negative about the decision the Board of Regents made,” said William Murphy Jr., lawyer for the McNair family. “That level of political pressure forced everyone to have a second thought, a third thought, a fourth thought of what the Board of Regents had done.”
Following the Regents’ decision to reinstate Durkin, the former head coach might not be the only one the family wants to be held accountable.
“We believe chairman Brady should be immediately dismissed for steering the ship in this horrible direction,” Murphy said.
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