Personal disclaimer here. I like D.J. Durkin. I got to know him in his season at Michigan (2015) and from everything I saw during his time here, he is a good man and coach. D.J. Durkin is a small part of the problem with the University of Maryland Football program. His issue and the death of a Terps player as well as this entire scandal can be summarized in one word: LEADERSHIP. A lack of it has landed Maryland in Beav’s Penalty Box.
These are the facts. A player from the University died from a May workout and Maryland took full responsibility and blame. The training staff (hired by school) and strength and conditioning (hired by Durkin) coach were fired. Maryland investigated and wanted to retain Durkin. They announced this Tuesday after almost a two-month investigation. After outrage by alumni, students, much of the media, and some Terps players, the school president did an about-fire and canned D.J. Wednesday.
What changed? Not the facts. The “leaders” of Maryland clearly cannot read tea leaves or make tough choices. Right or wrong, D.J. Durkin will always be linked to this death. His career is dead. He will never again be able to coach college, professional, high school, or even Pop Warner teams. Death is hard to come back from. Ask Boom Boom Mancini. How can he recruit a kid? Sit with parents and say I will take care of your son? HE CAN’T. And the people at Maryland knew that. Tuesday. And Wednesday.
What they didn’t know was the outrage retaining damaged goods can do to the whole operation. Life is not fair. Football coaches must be tough, or they will not last. They must push kids because late in the fourth quarter when you’re beat up and tired, Mom and Dad cannot help. D.J. Durkin did not kill this poor kid. But the program he oversees did. And the University of Maryland was too stupid to figure this out. Leaders make tough decisions and because the Maryland administration tried an easy route, they now did more damage to an already awful situation. They can ponder that as they sit in Beav’s Penalty Box.