Esiason: Hard For Durkin To Be An Effective Head Coach

As "the chorus of negativity" gets louder, Boomer Esiason believes it will be difficult for Durkin to recruit and coach at Maryland

Tiki and Tierney
October 31, 2018 - 6:31 pm

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The University of Maryland reinstated D.J. Durkin as head coach this week, and many people are not happy about it.

As NFL on CBS analyst Boomer Esiason pointed out, though, there are a lot of layers to this decision.

“There is a separation between the training staff and coaching staff,” Esiason explained on Tiki and Tierney. “The school hires the training staff, and the training staff is independent of the coaches. They cannot be intimated by coaches, they can’t be fired by the coaches – there has to be that separation between the training staff and the coaching staff. So the school has that.

“That’s one of the things, I would think, D.J. Durkin has going for him in this case,” Esiason continued. “These are the trainers that have to make all these decisions. I know people don’t want to hear that, but it’s part of the investigation. At the end of the day, the last thing the University of Maryland wants is a wrongful termination suit that they have to fight on top of all of this as well.”

Durkin came under fire after one of his former players, Jordan McNair, died of heatstroke in June following a workout.

“He has culpability hiring the strength coach,” Esiason said. “You and I both know that the strength coach is probably the most important guy on the staff because he spends more time with the kids than the actual coaches do. This was supposed to be this great hire. Every strength coach I’ve been around is out of their minds and a little aggressive. So there is definitely culpability there.”

Which is why many people believe Durkin should have been fired.

“I know the logical and practical thing would have been to offer D.J. a buy-out,” said Esiason, who played for Maryland in the 1980s. “But I also know while there is outside influence that wants him out of there, I also know that there are players and parents who want him in there. They want him back and appreciate what he has done for this school. Even though his record (10-15) doesn’t reflect it on the field, he’s trying to build the University of Maryland into a Big Ten type of football team.”

While Durkin was reinstated, this story is far from over. University of Maryland students are organizing a rally to protest the university’s decision. 

“I wouldn’t want to be him,” Esiason said of Durkin. “I would not want to be him today. I would not want to have to deal with everything that he’s going to deal with with student protests, with all the media coming after him and saying this is a bogus rehire. I think this is a really tough thing for him, and in the bigger picture of football and recruiting, it’s not going to work well for him, either. It’s going to be really weird watching him on the sideline if, in fact, he is on the sideline against Michigan State, especially as the chorus of negativity keeps getting louder and louder and louder. I just don’t necessarily know that he can be that effective as a head coach.”

Whether Durkin receives enough administrative support remains to be seen.

“This has been going on for almost 10 years now. The athletic department has been as dysfunctional as any in the country,” Esiason said. “ The fact that they kept the AD, Damon Evans, is a joke. . . . I don’t think (Durkin) will be (there a few years from now). I don’t know how he can be. His family is going to be put through the wringer, too. There’s going to be so much negativity around him, I really don’t now how he can be effective moving forward."

Click below to hear more of Esiason’s thoughts on this developing story.