CBS News November 1, 2018, 7:17 AM Family, friends of dead athlete relieved after firing of University of Maryland coach DJ Durkin
The University of Maryland fired its head football coach Thursday night just one day after his reinstatement by the board of regents caused a massive backlash on campus and across the state.
Coach DJ Durkin had been on administrative leave since August in the aftermath of a football player's death. An independent investigation concluded that Durkin was not responsible for Jordan McNair's death, but another probe found UMD's football program had become "toxic."
While the decision to fire Durkin was widely applauded, one player CBS News spoke to say the team is divided over his departure and there are even reports of a fight breaking out between two players. But that student athlete says there is a shared feeling of relief that action was finally taken.
Marty McNair praised the University of Maryland's decision to fire Durkin following his son's death more than four months ago.
"Relieved, relieved, relieved. Yeah, relieved that the right thing had been done," Marty said. "He is literally making more noise in his absence than he probably would've being here but again that was something that as a family that we felt that as though we were willing to deal with and turn our pain into purpose."
Jordan died on June 13 after suffering heatstroke at a May 29 practice. Nearly two months later, ESPN published a bombshell report citing a "toxic culture" in the program with "a coaching environment based on fear and intimidation."
Durkin was placed on paid administrative leave the following day and the university launched an investigation. Last week, the investigation concluded the program was not toxic, but there was a culture where players were scared to speak out. That led the board of regents to reinstate Durkin Tuesday.
But the university's president fired Durkin Wednesday night after backlash from students, state officials and several players. Jordan's former roommate Johnny Jordan applauded the decision.
"The right decision was made for justice for Jordan and for everything to be easier for us as players," Johnny said.
Now, the McNair family's attorney is calling for the board of regents' chairman, James Brady, to be fired.
"We believe that chairman Brady should be immediately dismissed for steering the ship in this horrible direction," the attorney said.
Rick Maese, a sports reporter for the Washington Post, said, "This is a stain on the university — not just the football program. This is something that people are gonna remember, and they're gonna be talking about for years to come."
CBS News reached out to Durkin but did not hear back and the UMD board of regents said it had no comment. UMD president Wallace Loh says his decision wasn't a reflection of his opinion of Durkin, but was in the best interest of the school. The players plan to honor Jordan McNair before this Saturday's game against Michigan State.