The hiring marks a reunion for Shafer and new Terrapins head coach D.J. Durkin. Both Durkin and Shafer coached at Stanford in 2007, when Shafer was the associate head coach and defensive coordinator and Durkin coached defensive ends and special teams.
Shafer brings previous experience as defensive coordinator from his time with Northern Illinois (2000–03), Western Michigan (’05-06), Stanford (’07), Michigan (’08) and Syracuse (’09–12). As the Orange’s defensive coordinator, he took over a unit that allowed 5.8 yards per play the year before he arrived and improved it to 4.6 by ’10 (ninth best in the FBS).
Shafer was promoted to head coach when Doug Marrone left to coach the NFL’s Buffalo Bills following the 2012 season. The 48-year-old Shafer was fired after three seasons as Syracuse’s coach. He went 7–6 in his debut campaign but finished with a record of 14–23.
Durkin became Maryland’s coach last week after serving as Michigan’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach this past season. The 37-year-old is regarded as one of college football’s brightest young defensive minds.
He was also previously defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Florida from 2013–14, a stint that included him leading the Gators to a 28–20 win over East Carolina as interim coach in the Birmingham Bowl in ’14.
At Maryland, Durkin replaced Randy Edsall, who was fired in October amidst a 2–4 start. He had a 22–33 record, including a 10–23 mark in conference play, in his five seasons with the Terrapins.
Maryland finished 3–9 this season, which included a 1–7 record in the Big Ten.