Maryland Fires DJ Durkin: Where Do They Go Next?

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Maryland Fires DJ Durkin: Where Do They Go Next?

Jack Corcoran, Staff

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After shocking the world and being eviscerated by the media for reinstating Maryland head football coach DJ Durkin, the school reversed course the day after with university president Wallace Loh announcing that Durkin would be fired, effective immediately.

This firing fixed many things. While still viewed as a circus to many, the Maryland athletics department somewhat reversed their image after being destroyed by everybody in sports media for 24 hours. Also, with reports of players walking out of team meetings and skipping practice, this firing also helped fix what was turning into a fractured locker room, especially since many of the players have rallied behind interim head coach Matt Canada.

Even though this ultimately might have been the right decision, there are some negatives. While the culture was excessive, a lot of successful programs like Alabama and Ohio State rely on cultures like these, cultures that rely on negative motivation tactics in order to challenge their athletes and to win championships. Yet again, this culture was excessive, and an athlete died as a result. However, the fact that Durkin received so little support by the university after he was retained, and they immediately caved into public pressure.

However, Maryland is a job that should still attract plenty of interest due to its proximity to the recruiting hotbed of the DMV and its Power 5 status. One candidate that has gained some traction is Alabama offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, who was the Maryland offensive coordinator from 2012-15 as well as their interim head coach in 2015. Locksley is known as one of the best recruiters of the DMV area in the country, and he’s coordinating the best offense in college football. Seems like a no brainer, right?

Well, not so much. Maryland needs a high character guy right now, not a man whose players, while head coach at New Mexico, were accused of rape and was almost fired for punching an assistant. Also, the results on the field weren’t good. He was 2-26 at New Mexico, as well as 1-5 during his interim stint with the Terps.

A better candidate than Locksley would maybe even be current interim head coach Matt Canada; however, the odds of him getting the job now on the tail-end of a three-game losing streak to put Maryland’s bowl hopes in serious jeopardy is in serious doubt. Other candidates include South Florida head coach Charlie Strong, Troy head coach Neal Brown, former UCLA head coach Jim Mora, Ohio State offensive coordinator Ryan Day, Appalachian State head coach Scott Satterfield, or Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold.

Maryland NEEDS to get this candidate right. The potential recruiting fallback of this controversy could be of epic proportions, and Maryland cannot afford to fall behind any more than they currently are. They don’t just need the candidate that will win them the most games, but the candidate that can repair both recruiting relationships and player relationships.