Story By: Erin Zollars
Photos By: Sol Tucker
College Park, MD–
Well what a change of 24 hours on the Campus of the University of Maryland College Park! A day after D.J Durkin was reinstated, he is now gone again, this time for good. All of this came amid major pressure for Maryland President Wallace Loh to pull the plug on Durkin after he failed to do so yesterday.
The outrage was strong. Not only did the reinstatement receive harsh criticism of keeping the leader of a toxic program in place, it went all the way to the head of the State of Maryland, Governor Larry Hogan, who said he didn’t think enough was being done to look at what happened. There was speculation that he could have possibly ordered his own investigation, since College Park is a State run institution. As of tonight, that is no longer necessary.
Earlier in the day yesterday it was brought to the attention to all of us the media that only Wallace Loh could make the firing possible, he neglected to do so and was met with harsh criticism enough to offer his own resignation in 2019. This left Durkin basically home free until today, when he had to walk into the team and announce he was no longer a part of the program.
Mr. Loh told the board last week he believed Mr. Durkin should not be retained, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for the president. Members of the board disagreed, and reached a compromise with Mr. Loh in which he would retire at the end of the school year, according to the person. But at a news conference on Tuesday, Mr. Loh’s lack of enthusiasm about the decision was obvious.
On Wednesday morning, Mr. Loh encountered widespread campus opposition and a public relations crisis, as many viewed the decision as the university choosing to be loyal to a football coach over a longtime university president.
A good number of the players on the team actually took to Twitter to express their frustrations with the process and demanded someone be held accountable for what was continued to be referred to as a toxic culture.
Another big note of the day came that Durkin would be paid his 5.5 million to leave, as the firing is without cause. Under the terms of the contract, he will be paid a buyout. His salary was approximately $2.5 million this year.
All of this comes as the Terps have a couple big games remaining over the next few weeks as to whether they will be Bowl Eligible or not. Had Durkin stayed in place, some Bowl’s could have potentially passed on Terps as result of Durkin being at the helm.
One thing that is for sure, tomorrow starts a new era in College Park, hopefully one that will bring this program back to the days of winning.