University of Maryland parts ways with head football coach D.J. Durkin

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

COLLEGE PARK — The University of Maryland has parted ways with head football coach D.J. Durkin, according to Wallace Loh, the university’s president.

The news of Durkin’s department comes a day after the University System of Maryland Board of Regents announced that Durkin as well as athletics director Damon Evans would keep their jobs following an investigation into the death of Jordan McNair, the 19-year-old offensive lineman who died of heatstroke two weeks after taking part in an offseason condition session.

President Loh, who also announced Tuesday that he would retire at the end of the school year, sent a letter to the University of Maryland community Wednesday regarding the decision to part ways with Durkin.

The letter stated in part, “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.”

President Loh added that following Tuesday’s press conference, he met with leadership throughout the university, including students, faculty and administrators, who “expressed serious concerns about Coach Durkin returning to the campus,” the letter added.

Prior to the news of Durkin’s departure, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued this statement in response to the board of regent’s decision to keep both Durkin and Evans around:

In August, Durkin and several other staff members were placed on administrative leave. Maryland offensive coordinator Matt Canada was named acting interim head coach. The Terps hold a 5-3 record in 2018, one win shy of becoming bowl eligible.

In 2016, Maryland went 6-7 under Durkin’s first year at the helm. The Terps lost to Boston College in the Quick Lane Bowl.

A year later, Maryland won only four games, finishing the season 4-8.

You can read Loh’s full letter below: 

Dear University of Maryland community,

I am writing to inform you of actions I am taking that are in the best interest of the University of Maryland.

Yesterday, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents announced numerous recommendations, including employment decisions about specific personnel on our campus. I accepted the Board’s recommendations. At the same time, I announced my retirement as president in June 2019.

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.

Sincerely,

Wallace D. Loh
President

CNN contributed to this report.