The screws are tightening even further on D.J. Durkin and Maryland.
Following the lead of their attorney, the parents of Jordan McNair took part in a pair of television interviews Thursday in which they called for Durkin to be fired as Maryland’s head football coach. It was the mother and father’s first public comments since their son, a 19-year-old Terrapins offensive lineman, collapsed during a football workout in late May and died two weeks later because of what the family called heatstroke.
Additional pressure is being applied behind the scenes as well as 247Sports.com, citing sources with knowledge of the situation, is now reporting that McNair’s parents will not discuss a settlement with the university until Durkin is fired. The website writes that the parents’ “demand appears to be fueled, at least partially, by a belief that Durkin and Maryland officials have been callous and weren’t forthright about the day the 6-foot-5, 325-pound lineman fell ill.”
Not that they needed it, but UM president Wallace Loh handed the parents the keys to drive the settlement in a press conference earlier this week by 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 training staff “basically misdiagnosed the situation.”
Durkin, two members of the training staff and head strength & conditioning coach Rick Court were placed on administrative leave earlier this month after a bombshell report alleged mishandling of McNair’s medical event as well as a toxic culture within the football program. Court’s resignation was announced earlier this week, while Durkin and the training staff members remain on leave.
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. Among the topics on the agenda to be discussed at the closed-door session are “[t]he appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction.”
It’s unclear whether a recommendation on Durkin’s future, and that of the president and athletic director Damon Evans as well, will come out of that meeting. The growing sentiment, however, is that Durkin will not return as the Terps’ head coach.