Maryland placed Durkin on leave on Aug. 11 until being reinstated on Oct. 30. He was fired one day later after public outrage grew.

By Jenna West
November 15, 2018

Former Maryland head coach DJ Durkin continued to advise the football team and assistant coaches while on adminstrative leave, reports The Baltimore Sun.

Sources told the Sun that Durkin informed an investigative task force that assistant coaches sent him game films to help create game plans, including ones for Maryland's season-opener victory over Texas. The university's board of regents reportedly knew of Durkin's actions while on leave, according to the Sun.

Durkin reportedly told the regents that athletic director Damon Evans approved his actions, while he also told the task force that the university did not limit his contact with the assistant coaches. When questioned by the task force if he remained in contact with players, Durkin allegedly said the university did not tell him to avoid any contact or assisting coaches.

An athletic department spokesperson and Evans released statements in response to the Sun, saying Durkin was not to "perform coaching duties" while on leave and denying that he gave the coach approval to do so.

"Coach Durkin was not to perform coaching duties while on administrative leave," the spokesperson said. "Matt Canada was performing all head coaching duties during this time and continues to lead the team."

Evans added: "Since taking over as interim head coach, Coach Canada has done an excellent job of bringing the team together and leading the team."

Jeffrey Klein, Durkin's attorney, told the Sun that the former coach had no comment. Former regents chairman James Brady and vice chairman Barry Gossett declined to comment, while the university did not make Evans available for an interview with the Sun.

Timeline of Jordan McNair's Death and DJ Durkin's Firing

Maryland placed Durkin on administrative leave on Aug. 11 after ESPN published an explosive in-depth report of a "toxic culture" in the football program under him. Canada was named interim head coach.

On Oct. 30, the university accepted the board of regents's recommendation to reinstate Durkin, but president Wallace D. Loh fired him the following day after public outrage grew.

Questions were raised over the handling of the Terrapins football program after offensive lineman Jordan McNair collapsed from a heatstroke at a May 29 team workout. He died two weeks later on June 13.

On Aug. 14, Loh and Evans announced that they apologized to McNair’s parents and "the university accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes our training staff made on that fateful workout day of May 29." Loh said the training staff “misdiagnosed” McNair’s situation, and Evans revealed that McNair did not have his temperature taken, nor was he given cold water immersion to lower his body temperature.

The board of regents announced in September that the athletic training staff did not follow protocol when treating McNair's heatstroke symptoms at the May workout.

In response to ESPN's report, Loh established an independent four-person group to investigate the allegations. Maryland's board of regents assumed control of the investigation, which concluded in October. The board found several failures within the football program but determined it was not a "toxic culture."

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