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Ole Miss hires former Maryland coach DJ Durkin

Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post via Getty Images(OXFORD, Miss.) — Former Maryland head coach DJ Durkin has joined the Ole Miss football program as an assistant coach, the school announced on Thursday.

This is Durkin’s first coaching job since he was fired by Maryland in 2018, following two investigations into the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordain McNair from heatstroke.

Durkin was placed on administrative leave after McNair’s death on June 13, 2018, while the university investigated both the workout that led to McNair’s death and the culture in Durkin’s program after allegations of abuse surfaced in an ESPN report.

In a statement, Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter said, “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.”

The school also touted Durkin’s recruiting experience in a separate statement. “Durkin, Rivals’ Recruiter of the Year in 2012, has helped ink seven top-25 classes, including five which ranked in the top 10,” the statement said. “During his time with the [Florida] Gators, Durkin helped land four straight top-11 recruiting classes and nine five-star prospects.”

Between his time at Maryland and his hiring at Ole Miss, Durkin worked as a defensive consultant for the Atlanta Falcons.

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