The University of Maryland fired its football coach, D.J. Durkin, the university president announced Wednesday night. The news came one day after the school had said Mr. Durkin would be reinstated following an investigation into the death of a player last spring.
The initial decision to retain Mr. Durkin, made by the Board of Regents over the president’s objections, provoked an outcry. The university president, Wallace D. Loh, said he would still retire in June, as he had announced on Tuesday, but would spend the rest of his time in office cleaning up the athletic department.
Mr. Loh said in a statement on Wednesday that Mr. Durkin’s departure “is in the best interest of the university. He said Mr. Durkin had been told of his firing Wednesday afternoon.
Mr. Durkin was put on leave in August after one of his players, Jordan McNair, sustained heatstroke at a practice in May and died two weeks later. A subsequent report by ESPN characterized Maryland’s football program as dysfunctional and having a “toxic culture.”
On Tuesday, it was announced that Mr. Durkin would stay as coach. The chair of the university’s Board of Regents, James T. Brady, cited a report commissioned by the university that suggested Mr. Durkin had made some errors but that he was not to blame for much of the program’s issues. At the same time, Mr. Loh announced he would retire next year.
Mr. Loh still plans to retire, but he also confirmed on Wednesday that he had previously urged that Mr. Durkin be fired.
“The chair of the Board of Regents has publicly acknowledged that I had previously raised serious concerns about Coach Durkin’s return,” Mr. Loh said in the statement.