The call for a change in leadership at the top of the Maryland football program is quickly reaching a crescendo, with its most important voices speaking out for the first time.
During an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America, and as their lawyer has previously done, the parents of Jordan McNair, the 19-year-old Maryland football player who died two weeks after collapsing during a football workout this summer, called for D.J. Durkin to be fired as the Terrapins head coach.
“You send your kid away to college for them to be developed into young people — and that’s physically, emotionally and spiritually,” Martin McNair, Jordan’s father, told the morning show. “And teach our young kids, our young people that we worked so hard to get there, to, ‘Hey, I’m giving my child to you. Keep him safe.’ They did anything but that.
“So of course he should be fired.”
Wednesday night, the University of Maryland announced that it has called a special meeting of its Board of Regents Friday morning at approximately 10:05 ET, with the expectation being that Durkin’s future, as well as that of others, will be discussed and possibly decided on.
At a press conference Tuesday, Maryland president Wallace Loh addressed the ongoing investigation into McNair’s, stating that the university “accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day.” The president acknowledged that McNair’s death could’ve been prevented, but the football program’s “basically misdiagnosed the situation.”
The press conference came three days after Durkin was placed on administrative leave.
Durkin’s administrative leave and subsequent calls for his job stem from a damning report late last week in which it was alleged McNair was showing signs of distress before he collapsed during a workout in late May, dying a little over two weeks later of what his family described as heatstroke. That same report, which led to the suspensions of members of the training staff and strength & conditioning coach as well, also detailed a “toxic” culture within the football program under Durkin, one based on fear, intimidation, belittling, humiliation and embarrassment. Players were, allegedly, routinely subjected to what was described as extreme verbal abuse.
Durkin, as well as two athletic trainers, remain on leave. Additionally, head strength & conditioning Rick Court‘s resignation was announced earlier this week.