Drew Gallagher is a first-year undergraduate student at Bowling Green State University. He is planning to major in Sport Management with a minor in General Business. Drew is a proud native of Aurora, Illinois and is interested in many sports, but focuses primarily on baseball and football at the professional and collegiate levels.
DJ Durkin, the head football coach at the University of Maryland, was fired from his job Wednesday after being reinstated just a day before by the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents (Dotson & Almasy, 2018).
For those who may not be aware of the incident for which Durkin was being investigated , it was his involvement in the June death of former Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair. McNair was a redshirt freshman who collapsed at the team’s first organized workout of the summer on May 29th, 2018. This was due to apparent heat exhaustion. He went to the hospital and was reported as being in “critical but stable condition” (Connors, 2018). McNair died two weeks later on June 13th and an investigation into his death was started almost immediately.
Durkin was later found to be present during the incident and was eventually placed on leave along with two medical staffers. The report later found that Maryland’s training staff failed to properly recognize McNair’s signs of heat exhaustion (Connors, 2018). The USM Board then began to conduct their own investigation. Much later on Tuesday, October 29th, after multiple meetings about the investigation, the Board announced that Durkin would be able to keep his job. The day after the reinstatement, he was fired from his position.
This timeline of events is very strange regardless of how anybody may feel about the incident itself. Those close to the incident such as McNair’s family member or teammates were surprised that Durkin was even reinstated in the first place. This was because of the very negative-leaning findings of how he and the training staff had handled McNair’s condition. Durkin’s firing coming the day after his reinstatement makes the situation even stranger.
The fact that this happened raises many different questions on the part of sports fans. Had the University planned to fire Durkin no matter what the Board of Regents decided? Did they only decide to do this during the short period of time between his reinstatement and firing? One could argue that the huge backlash from the media and it’s followers could have had a lot to do with the firing. It appeared that most people were opposed to the Board’s decision and this opposition may have forced the University to make a decision for the sake of their public relations.
The fact remains that at the end of the day, a young man is dead. Whether this was due to the carelessness of his coaches or because of some sort of freak accident is still up in the air. While this may never be known for certain, some may say that Durkin’s firing needed to happen for the sake of justice.
Connors, R. (2018, October 31). A timeline of Maryland football, from DJ Durkin’s hiring until now. SB Nation. Retrieved from https://www.testudotimes.com/maryland-terps-football/2018/10/30/17921896/maryland-football-dj-durkin-jordan-mcnair-wallace-loh
Dotson, K., & Almasy, S. (2018, November 1). Maryland football coach DJ Durkin fired a day after being reinstated. CNN.com. Retrieved from https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/31/us/maryland-football-coach-durkin-fired/index.html