(CBS Sports) – Former Maryland coach D.J. Durkin will make his return in college football in 2020. Ole Miss announced Tuesday that Durkin will join Lane Kiffin’s first Rebels staff as an assistant coach.
Durkin was fired by Maryland in October 2018 in the wake of a school investigation into the death of Jordan McNair, who passed away from a heatstroke in June of that year. Durkin was first suspended, then reinstated, then ultimately fired without cause.
Two independent, formal investigations did not find him to be at fault in McNair’s death. However, the school’s report found “significant dysfunction in the management of the athletics department,” and an extensive ESPN report found a “toxic culture” surrounded the football program under Durkin, who compiled a 10-15 record at Maryland.
This is Durkin’s first full-time job in college football since being dismissed by the Terrapins. He spent the 2019 season doing consulting work for the Atlanta Falcons and “several” college football teams.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Pete Thamel, Ole Miss did an “extensive background check” before offering the position to Durkin, and the hire has been approved not only by athletic administrators but campus officials as well.
“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.”