University of Maryland head football coach DJ Durkin was placed on administrative leave Saturday while the university investigates allegations of abuse by staff members amid the recent death of a player on the practice field.
In a letter to university students, staff and alumni, Maryland Athletic director Damon Evans named first-year offensive coordinator Matt Canada the team’s interim coach, while announcing the school’s probe of “unacceptable behaviors” by members of the football staff.
“I am extremely concerned by the allegations of unacceptable behaviors by members of our football staff detailed in recent media reports,” Evans wrote. “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 external review into the tragic death of Jordan McNair continues, and we have committed to releasing publicly the report being prepared by an independent and national expert…These alleged behaviors are not consistent with the values I expect all of our staff to adhere to and we must do better…”
Last Friday, ESPN reported allegations from current and former players, and current and former staff members, that described a culture of bullying, verbal abuse and humiliation towards players. Coaches reportedly endorsed unhealthy eating habits and mocked players with obscenity-laced epithets. One player reportedly was belittled verbally after passing out during a drill.
It was also revealed last week that freshman offensive lineman Jordan McNair, 19, died of heatstroke after showing visible signs of distress during a workout May 29. McNair died June 13.