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On the finish of 2015, DJ Durkin addressed the Maryland soccer staff for the primary time. Some gamers considered him with skepticism, the pure response of hypercompetitive faculty athletes — who is that this new man, anyway? Standing earlier than the gamers, pacing backwards and forwards, Durkin chipped away at their doubt. He declared the Terrapins would turn out to be an awesome staff underneath his watch in the event that they purchased into his imaginative and prescient. Gamers may sense his ardour and depth. They understood what the place meant to him.

“The man labored his complete life to turn out to be a head coach, and he was going to do it to perfection,” former Maryland defensive finish Roman Braglio stated. “This man had actually devoted his life to soccer.”

In lower than twenty years, Durkin rose from undersized defensive finish at Bowling Inexperienced to Huge Ten head coach. He constructed his teaching résumé on a consuming work ethic and famend depth, working underneath a number of the most profitable coaches of the period, till he signed a five-year, $12.5 million contract to revive Maryland. Born in Youngstown, Ohio, a small metropolis known as the Cradle of Coaches for the variety of high-profile coaches it has produced, Durkin established himself as one of many brightest younger minds in soccer.

Over the previous two months, Durkin, 40, has presided over tragedy and watched his speedy ascent unravel. The College of Maryland positioned him on administrative go away Saturday, after an ESPN report described a “poisonous” ambiance that contributed to the June 13 demise from exterior heatstroke of Jordan McNair. The 19-year-old offensive lineman collapsed throughout a Could 29 exercise. The job Durkin labored so obsessively towards and the profession that had been pointed on an upward trajectory is in extreme jeopardy.

College of Maryland president Wallace Loh introduced Tuesday the college would examine experiences of abusive ways utilized by Durkin and his workers. No matter what the college finds, Durkin was in control of a program on the day a participant suffered a demise specialists considered as preventable.

Former gamers throughout Durkin’s tenure as an assistant at Stanford, Florida and Michigan described Durkin as passionate, caring, demanding and dedicated to soccer. A number of former gamers interviewed for this story supported Durkin and credited him with serving to not solely their soccer careers, however their lives off the sector. Others have indicated they perceived Durkin as overly intense, at the same time as an assistant coach.

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“Coach Durkin was a special man,” former Michigan security Jabrill Peppers stated Wednesday on “The Wealthy Eisen Present.” “His ways had been totally different. It felt excessive at instances. I’m simply as shocked studying all of the stuff that’s occurring now, as a result of I believed he was solely like that as a result of it was his first time teaching us.

“It’s simply the best way he goes about getting probably the most out of his gamers. Me being from the place I’m from, I didn’t prefer it, however on the finish of the day I knew what the general objective was. The way in which I might describe it, sort of like bully teaching. I don’t assume he meant something by it, however it’s sort of the way it comes out.”

A number of gamers who performed underneath Durkin throughout his first season at Maryland stated they had been shocked to examine allegations of a staff tradition rife with intimidation and humiliation. For them, the coach they known as “Durk” introduced infectious power to his groups, fast to crack a smile or leap to bump our bodies with gamers to rejoice a giant play in observe.

“It was shocking, as a result of abusive is a phrase I wouldn’t hook up with Durk,” former Florida linebacker Michael Taylor stated. “However we performed high-level soccer. It is rather demanding. He simply wished you to do issues his means.”

Durkin started his teaching profession at Bowling Inexperienced in 2001, instantly after he ended his taking part in profession. First-year head coach City Meyer employed him as a graduate assistant.

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