The University of Maryland announced on Saturday that football head coach DJ Durkin will be placed on administrative leave as investigations continue on the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair. New offensive coordinator Matt Canada will serve as interim head coach.
“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,” Maryland athletic director Damon Evans said in a release by the school. “This is effective immediately. Matt Canada will serve as interim head coach.”
Durkin has been with Maryland since 2016. He served as a defensive coordinator for Michigan and Florida before coming to College Park. Durkin is 10-15 as the Terps’ head coach.
“The external review into the tragic death of Jordan McNair continues,” Evans continued. “We have committed to releasing publicly the report being prepared by an independent and national expert.”
McNair, who played high school football for McDonough High School, died two weeks after he passed out during team workouts on May 29. According to ESPN, the cause of McNair’s tragic death was a heat stroke.
Maryland also has three athletic staff members on paid administrative leave.
ESPN reported on Friday about allegations of abuse and a toxic culture surrounding Maryland’s football program. Current players, former players, staff members, and people close to the program told ESPN about incidents of verbal abuse and humiliation.
“I would never, ever, ever allow my child to be coached there,” a Maryland staff member told ESPN.
Some of Maryland’s former and current players have went on social media to show their support for Durkin and the program.
— Danny Sutton (@DannySutton23) August 11, 2018
We’re a family and a family sticks together 🔒🐢 #terps see you guys sept 1st
— BOONE® (@_SavageRay) August 11, 2018
Nah I’m good over here bro ON GOD .. and you going see why soon . https://t.co/D3a7mINspS
— 5️⃣ (@AnttMacc_) August 11, 2018
South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp showed support for Durkin when asked about what’s happening at Maryland during a press conference.
#Gamecocks @CoachWMuschamp delivered a fiery response to a question about an @espn story, which portrays the Maryland football program under DJ Durkin in a bad light. Durkin used to work w/ coach. "There’s no credibility in anonymous sources. I think that's gutless." @wis10 pic.twitter.com/ny60Xb8jIO
— Joe Gorchow (@joegorchowWIS) August 11, 2018
Maryland will kick off the 2018 season against Texas on Sept. 1 at FedEx Field.