D.J. Durkin has a new job – white men get away with everything

The disgraced coach hasn’t had much trouble finding work after the death of Jordan McNair

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Of COURSE D.J. Durkin is back in college football.
Of COURSE D.J. Durkin is back in college football.
Illustration: Getty Images

If Jordan McNair’s friends or family ever got into a fight with anybody responsible for giving D.J. Durkin a job in football since 2018, it would be understandable.

The former University of Maryland head coach was fired in 2018 due to running a program so vile, disturbing, and dysfunctional that it was found culpable in McNair’s death, as the training staff misdiagnosed his symptoms after he passed out during a taxing offseason workout – which ended in him dying from heatstroke.


On Wednesday, it was announced that Texas A&M is hiring Durkin to be their new defensive coordinator. Durkin is Teflon to consequences. And just to remind you, here are a few things that were allowed to happen inside Durkin’s program at Maryland.

  • Former strength and conditioning coach Rick Court once walked up behind a player that was struggling with a workout and “pressed the lat bar into his neck, choking him.”
  • The coaching staff made the team watch disturbing videos during meals. The videos included serial killers, drills entering eyeballs, and bloody scenes with animals eating animals. It was thought to be a motivational tactic.
  • Court humiliated players in front of their teammates by throwing food, weights, and even a trash can full of vomit at them.

You would think that Durkin would be a black sheep in the coaching world. However, that hasn’t been the case due to the combination of his whiteness and the occasional toxic culture of football. By 2019, the Atlanta Falcons had hired Durkin to be a guest coach – under former head coach Dan Quinn – during training camp.

Quinn called McNair’s death an “unfortunate situation.”

“I didn’t probably because I know who the person is having coached with him before,” Quinn said when asked if he hesitated about the decision. “So, I knew his background as a defensive coach and special teams. By doing our due diligence from there. ... An unfortunate situation, of course, but as far as eyes to look at the defense to help us, I definitely knew the advantage of that.”

Looking back, the move should have been expected from Quinn considering one of his coaches once asked Eli Apple his sexual preference at the NFL Combine during an interview.

In 2020, Durkin popped up in Mississippi when Lane Kiffin was looking for a defensive coordinator at Ole Miss, as Durkin returned to the SEC after having previous experience as a coordinator in Florida.


According to the numbers, Ole Miss had the eighth-best defense in the SEC, which ranked them 97th nationally. So, it’s not like Durkin is some defensive wizard whose arrival can instantly turn a program around. No, he’s just a white dude that did something really bad that other white dudes have no problem ignoring because the people he hurt don’t look like them.

Don’t be surprised if D.J. Durkin is running his own program again soon.