Maryland announced Saturday that head football coach DJ Durkin has been placed on administrative leave after reports of a toxic environment within his program. This came after three staff members were also put on leave following an ESPN report that detailed a toxic culture within the football program and questions about the workout that led to the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair.
Here is a timeline of events that has led to Durkin being placed on leave:
Dec. 2, 2015: Maryland hires DJ Durkin as head coach. Durkin had served as defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan and was brought to Maryland after previous coach Randy Edsall was fired by the university.
January 2016: Durkin hires Rick Court as head strength and conditioning coach at Maryland. Court had been in the same position at Mississippi State prior to being hired at Maryland.
May 29, 2018: Offensive lineman Jordan McNair is hospitalized after showing signs of heatstroke and exhaustion while participating in a team workout. McNair has difficulty finishing a set of 110-yard sprints and is found to have a body temperature of 106 degrees at a local hospital. Sources later tell ESPN.com that McNair did not finish the runs on his own strength and was eventually walked around the practice field before being taken for treatment.
After evaluating McNair at the football facilities, EMT responders call in a “male patient with a seizure,” and McNair was transported to Washington Adventist Hospital.
June 13, 2018: McNair dies in the hospital at age 19. No cause of death has been officially released, but ESPN has since learned that heatstroke is the cause of death.
June 14, 2018: Maryland holds a news conference with acting athletic director Damon Evans and Durkin, along with team physician Dr. Frank Henn. Evans detailed the workout and timeline of events that led to McNair’s eventual hospitalization. Evans announced that an external investigation will be conducted but declined to name the organization that will conduct it.
June 19, 2018: Maryland announces the hire of Rod Walters, a sports medicine consultant who oversaw athletic training at Appalachian State and South Carolina, to conduct a review into the death of McNair.
June 21, 2018: ESPN.com confirms the McNair family retained the law firm of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy to represent the family. Billy Murphy, one of the attorneys from the firm, later said a lawsuit was “likely.”
June 25, 2018: Evans is named full-time athletic director. Evans, who had been at Maryland since 2014, had been serving as acting athletic director since April.
Aug. 3, 2018: Practice officially starts and, according to sources, the culture of bullying, led by Court, continues.
Aug. 10, 2018: ESPN.com reports allegations of a toxic coaching culture under Durkin and Court. Multiple sources close to the program describe past behavior of intimidation, humiliation and verbal abuse that created a culture of fear for the players. The sources also revealed allegations of unhealthy eating habits and using food punitively against the players.
Maryland announces two staff members were placed on administrative leave. According to sources at a staff meeting, Evans informed the team that head football athletic trainer Wes Robinson and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall were placed on leave.
Durkin sends a letter to parents of players, saying an upcoming report by ESPN.com may “prompt questions” about the program.
Aug. 11, 2018: Maryland announces Durkin has been placed on administrative leave pending an external review. Evans said in a statement, “I am extremely concerned by the allegations of unacceptable behaviors by members of our football staff detailed in recent media reports.” Evans said that the university is committed to fully investigating the program. Sources also told ESPN.com that Court, assistant athletic director of sports performance was also placed on leave.
Offensive coordinator Matt Canada is named interim head coach.
President Wallace D. Loh also released the following statement:
I am profoundly disturbed by media reports of intimidating conduct by Maryland football coaches and staff. Today, AD Damon Evans has placed Head Football Coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave while a comprehensive examination is conducted https://t.co/W5LoMoQp4f
— Wallace D. Loh (@presidentloh) August 11, 2018