Sport

Muschamp defends Durkin against 'gutless' report of toxic culture

Muschamp defends Durkin against 'gutless' report of toxic culture”

"Following the death of Maryland football player Jordan McNair in June, the University of Maryland commissioned an external review of the procedures and protocols surrounding athletes' health and safety".

ESPN's story Friday detailed a "coaching environment based on fear and intimidation" including "belittling, humiliation and embarrassment of players" at the behest of coaches, and cited anonymous sources.

Pending the final outcome of this review, the university has placed members of the Athletics staff on administrative leave.

The school also announced it will run a thorough examination of its coaching practices in the wake of an ESPN report regarding the death of Maryland lineman Jordan McNair in June.

Former Texas defensive coordinator and current SC head coach Will Muschamp made national headlines Saturday when asked about Durkin, who coached under Muschamp at Florida for four seasons. McNair died June 13 - 15 days after falling ill during a conditioning test - of what his family described as heatstroke on a website to announce the establishment of a foundation in his honor.

Durkin had served as defensive coordinator at the University of MI and was brought to Maryland after previous coach Randy Edsall was sacked by the university. Durkin led Florida to a 28-20 win over East Carolina in the 2015 Birminham Bowl.

Keisha Staples, the mother of junior defensive back Antoine Brooks Jr., told the AP she is close with a group of about eight players" parents who would like to meet with Evans and school officials to voice their "full support' for Durkin.

Brooks was part of Durkin's first recruiting class in 2016.

He said he had, however, spoken to Durkin Saturday morning.

"I'm sure not everybody has had the same experience we've had, but we have had a good experience", Staples said.

A former Maryland staff member said: "I would never, ever, ever allow my child to be coached there."

'I don't want the stigma to be at Maryland this is a toxic culture, ' Staples said. "This is a football culture". "Now they have to deal with the loss of their coach".

A former staff member recalled a time when one player was in a team meeting with food on a plate because he was rushing from a meal to get to the meeting, and [strength and conditioning coach Rick] Court smacked the plate of food out of the player's hands, yelling at him.
Court had been the head strength coach at Mississippi State since 2014 under coach Dan Mullen.

"He worked us hard", Fitzgerald told the AP. He wasn't out to hurt anyone. "From what I remember, he never really went over the line or did anything insane like that".



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