DJ Durkin is officially back in place as Maryland’s head coach, and earlier today we outlined the tough, necessary steps Durkin needs to take to win his players and recruits back over.
But there is another opponent Durkin must fight, and that one may be more difficult: public opinion.
The parents of the late Jordan McNair held their own press conference Tuesday night, in which McNair’s father said, “I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach, and somebody spit in my face.” The Washington Post published a column telling parents not to send their sons to Maryland. On Thursday, Maryland’s student government will organize a protest against Durkin’s reinstatement.
And now there this. Congressman Anthony Brown, representing Maryland’s fourth district in the U.S. House of Representatives, released a statement calling for Durkin’s ouster.
“Coach Durkin should be fired. Damon Evans should be fired. And Governor Hogan’s hand-picked Board Chairman Brody should resign for the extreme callousness and ineptitude he demonstrated by putting his own personal vendettas and agenda ahead of the welfare of our students,” Brown said. “Jordan McNair’s life matters. As a father and a University of Maryland parent, I urge the UMD community to come together and reject this litany of excuses and demand accountability.”
Later, Maryland governor Larry Hogan stepped in to join Brown. He didn’t mention Durkin or any individual by name, but said, “I am deeply troubled by the lack of transparency from the Board of Regents, and deeply concerned about how they could have possibly arrived at the decisions announced yesterday.”
Remember, it was when the politicians got involved that the fan-led groundswell became big enough to push Greg Schiano out at Tennessee last November.
Durkin is not at that tipping point, but he faces a significant challenge to remain viable as Maryland’s head coach, with work to do both inside and outside the program.