Ole Miss hires former Maryland coach D.J. Durkin as assistant coach

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STATE COLLEGE, PA – OCTOBER 08: Head coach DJ Durkin of the Maryland Terrapins reacts in the first quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium on October 8, 2016 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

OXFORD, Miss. — Former Maryland coach D.J. Durkin has been hired as an assistant coach under Lane Kiffin at Ole Miss.

The university announced the hire on Thursday.

Durkin’s hire is a controversial move for the university. Durkin was fired from the University of Maryland in October of 2018 after the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair.  McNair died of heatstroke on June 13, 2018.

Durkin was placed on administrative leave as the university launched investigations into McNair’s death. He was not found responsible for McNair’s death, but he was fired from the university after reports of a toxic and abusive culture began to surface.

Ole Miss Athletic Director Keith Carter released a statement on Durkin’s hire.

“As part of our standard vetting process for all hires, the university conducted a thorough background check on Coach Durkin, and we connected with several highly respected college football coaches, administrators and school officials about their experiences working with him. 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. 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.”

Former NFL tight end Joe Jon Finley and former Michigan special teams coordinator Chris Patridge have also joined the staff.

The assistants’ roles have not been specified at this time.

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