One day after ESPN published a detailed report on the “toxic culture” inside the Maryland Terrapins’ football program, the university announced that head football coach DJ Durkin has been placed on administrative leave.
Maryland athletic director Damon Evans released a statement on the decision:
Damon Evans has announced Coach DJ Durkin is on leave effective immediately while a thorough examination of our coaching practices is conducted. Matt Canada will serve as interim head coach. We must do better, and we will rebuild a culture of respect in our football program. pic.twitter.com/lQArXIrkeB
— Maryland Terrapins (@umterps) August 11, 2018
“I am extremely concerned by the allegations of unacceptable behaviors by members of our football staff detailed in recent media reports. We are committed to fully investigating the program.
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. This is effective immediately. Matt Canada will serve as interim head coach.
The safety and well-being of our student-athletes is our highest priority,” Evans continued. “These alleged behaviors are not consistent with the values I expect all of our staff to adhere to and we must do better.
You will be hearing from me as our work continues to rebuild the culture of respect in our football program.”
As Evans states, Matt Canada will serve as the Terrapins’ interim head coach. Canada, 49, has no head coaching experience, but has served as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for several big programs (most recently LSU in 2017).
Maryland had already placed strength and conditioning coach Rick Court, head athletic trainer Wes Robinson, and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall on administrative leave before doing the same for Durkin on Saturday.
The allegations of the abusive, toxic culture in the Maryland football program come after sophomore offensive lineman Jordan McNair died in June. McNair collapsed at a Maryland team practice on May 29 and died two weeks later. ESPN reports that McNair “died of heatstroke after showing visible signs of distress” at the team practice.
ESPN also reported Friday that McNair, 19, died of heatstroke after showing visible signs of distress during a workout May 29, including difficulty standing up and seizing. Court led the workout during which McNair became ill, but was not involved in treating him afterward. McNair died June 13. A formal report into his death by a university-hired investigator is expected Sept. 15.
Maryland opens their football season on Sept. 1 at FedEx Field.