Maryland confirms DJ Durkin, Damon Evans will remain in posts

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In a bizarre press conference confirming-but-not confirming every detail of a Washington Post story Tuesday afternoon, Maryland announced that DJ Durkin and Damon Evans will remain in their posts as the Terps’ head coach and AD, respectively.

University System of Maryland board chairman James Brady opened the press conference by saying the board recommended holding steady with Durkin and Evans while at the same time laying out what a dysfucntional athletics department Maryland had that led to the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and multiple players claiming abuse and mistreatment.

“All three individuals understand and have accepted responsibility for the dysfunction within the athletic department. We also found all three individuals share our commitment to improving the culture,” Brady said.

It was Wallace Loh who confirmed that Evans and Durkin would indeed return. Loh also announced he will retire at the close of this academic year.

Loh praised Evans effusively during his statement, saying, “I am pleased the board has confidence in AD Damon Evans, in his leadership. Since he was appointed AD in early July 2018, he has put that department on the path to becoming more united, more cohesive and more thriving.”

Loh did not mention Durkin by name at all during the his press conference statement, and said it would be Evans who determines if Durkin coaches Maryland against Michigan State on Saturday.

Brady repeatedly defended Durkin, arguing his lack of oversight into former strength coach Rick Court was Maryland’s fault, since it did not properly train its first-time head coach.

“We believe that Coach Durkin has been unfairly blamed for the dysfunction in the athletic department,” Brady said. “And while he shares some responsibility, it is not fair to place all of it at his feet.”

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that, during an in-person meeting Friday, Durkin personally persuaded the board to reinstate him to his post, against the wishes of Loh.

Tuesday’s press conference all but confirmed that reporting.

That reported Friday recruiting pitch allowed Durkin to keep his job as Maryland’s head coach, but, with scores of negative recruiting material now out and confirmed by his own employer, it’s hard to see how he credibly recruits for the program moving forward.