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McNair family wants Terps coach Durkin fired

Posted at 5:41 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 17:41:48-04

The future of the University of Maryland football program and its head coach are up in the air following an explosive report by ESPN.

This comes after Randallstown native Jordan McNair lost his life during a team workout in College Park.

It was a bombshell report that came out over the weekend that resulted in the University of Maryland placing head football coach DJ Durkin and other football staff members on leave amid reports of a toxic coaching culture and abuse that ultimately contributed to the death of McNair.

The 19-year-old offensive lineman, who graduated from McDonogh High School, died in June.  His death came two weeks after he was hospitalized following a team workout.  At that workout McNair's family says Jordan suffered from heatstroke.  

The ESPN report alleges that coaches did not take proper action after McNair was showing difficulty running sprints.  WMAR-2 News Sports Reporter Shawn Stepner spoke with the attorneys for the McNair family on Monday. They say there was a one-hour time gap between when McNair fell ill and a 911 call was made.

Now they want Durkin out and drastic measures to be taken.

"Coach Durkin should be fired immediately," said attorney Billy Murphy. "There are several reasons for that. First, he's implicated in serious misconduct that affected the life of a player. Second is the toxic culture that is apparently present at the University of Maryland football operation. The third is that it's essential to clean house if you want any hope that we will develop a proper football program."

"At the end of the day they took him and tried to reinsert him into practice, which is the most reprehensible piece of this entire ordeal and really shows the indifference that the coaching staff had towards his life," added attorney Malcolm Ruff.

The University of Maryland is conducting an external review of the incident.  Those findings are expected by September 15.

McNair's attorneys say they look forward to seeing the results of that review but they will be skeptical when they read them.

Terps Athletics Director Damon Evans released a statement that reads: 

"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 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. 

The safety and well-being of our student-athletes is our highest priority. 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."

-Damon Evans, University of Maryland Athletics Director

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook