Ole Miss hires former Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin

Andy Kwong

The controversial D.J. Durkin resurfaces into the coaching ranks as he was hired as an assistant on Ole Miss football coaching staff.

He was formerly Maryland's head coach for two seasons but was fired in October 2018 after the death of offensive linemen Jordan McNair during conditioning drills. The player displayed symptoms of a heatstroke along with having seizures during practices.

Before Durkin was relieved of his duties, he was initially suspended by the university as they conducted further investigation of him and his coaching staff. After he was ruled not guilty of wrong doing, he was reinstated to the team. The backlash from the public of the university's decision to keep him was enough to force Maryland to immediately fire him.

The improper handling of McNair's health along with the reported fat-shaming from the Maryland coaching staff has been well documented. The fact that he was able to land a full-time coaching job again remains a shock for many people in the Maryland community.

The University of Maryland continues to pay the buyout of Durkin, as he was owed $5 million.

This past season, Durkin served as a consultant for the Atlanta Falcons. He also spent a few days shadowing Alabama's head coach Nick Saban.

Ole Miss did a complete background check on him by their athletic department and campus officials, according to Yahoo sports. 

“We received consistently strong feedback about Coach Durkin’s strong character and work ethic and his positive impact on the communities and institutions where he was previously employed,” Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter said in a statement. “Once we had the chance to spend time with Coach Durkin, we were even more convinced that he is exactly the type of accomplished coach with strong football credentials who is also a proud and committed family man that will make him a great addition to our new staff.”