The parents of Jordan McNair, the Maryland offensive lineman who died from heatstroke two weeks after a team workout, say D.J. Durkin should lose his job.
And they took it a step further. In an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, Martin McNair said, point blank, that Durkin, Maryland’s third-year head coach, should not be able to coach in general.
“He shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid,” Martin McNair said. “You send your kid away to college for them to be developed into young people, and that’s physically, emotionally and spiritually. And to 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.”
In the weeks since McNair’s death, Maryland has been alleged to have a “toxic” football culture under Durkin’s watch. That culture was detailed in an extensive ESPN article that included coaches, notably strength coach Rick Court (who led the fatal workout), allegedly intimidating and verbally abusing players. Tonya Wilson, McNair’s mother, believes that played a role in her son’s death.
Jordan McNair, just 19, struggled to even stand up while trying to complete sprints on May 29. According to ESPN, Maryland head athletic trainer Wes Robinson yelled, “Drag his ass across the field!”
An attorney for the McNair family said Jordan suffered a seizure and that university training staff did not call 911 for assistance for nearly an hour. When McNair arrived at the hospital, he had a body temperature of 106 degrees.
“Jordan was the type of person who would give his all, give his best, because someone asked him to do something,” Wilson said. “He would always give his all. He wouldn’t have stopped. He wouldn’t have stopped. If that’s the culture, then he didn’t want to be called any names, things that they say they’ve been called.”
In a news conference on Tuesday, Maryland president Wallace Loh and athletic director Damon Evans that the university “accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes our training staff made.” While an investigation into the circumstances around McNair’s death is ongoing, Loh announced a separate investigation into the football program on Tuesday.
"The University accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made."
– Maryland president Wallace D. Loh on Jordan McNair's death pic.twitter.com/YR93ZKZWBc
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) August 14, 2018
While Court resigned, Durkin, Robinson and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall have been placed on administrative leave. Maryland’s board of regents have called a special meeting for 10 a.m. Friday morning. It will be a closed session.
Billy Murphy, an attorney representing the family, has told multiple outlets that a lawsuit against the school is likely. 247 Sports reported Thursday afternoon that the family won’t discuss a potential settlement with the school until Durkin is no longer the coach.
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