As of Tuesday, Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin had spoken to his team, and was set to return as head coach. The school’s Board of Regents was keen on keeping him and athletic director Damon Evans, despite reported protestations from school president Wallace Loh.
That changed today.
A number of players reportedly walked out from the meeting with Durkin. Some anonymously said that they did not want to play for him, after reports of a toxic culture within the program, and of course, the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair earlier this year after a practice.
Maryland governor Larry Hogan also weighed in today, urging the school to reconsider the decision to keep Durkin.
Shortly after his statement, the school did just that. D.J. Durkin was fired after practice today by Evans.
Source: D.J. Durkin was informed of his dismissal by AD Damon Evans, a few minutes after practice shortly after 6 p.m.
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) October 31, 2018
There is one obvious candidate to replace D.J. Durkin as Maryland football head coach, but a few other names that could pop up as well.
The likely hire is on staff, and has been coaching the team this season.
Matt Canada – Maryland Terrapins offensive coordinator/interim head coach
Amid about as much adversity as possible, Canada has been a steadying influence at Maryland. He has the Terrapins at 5-3, with a 3-2 record in the tough Big Ten. According to reports, players have enjoyed playing for Canada more than they did with Durkin at the helm.
It wasn’t long ago that he was a rising star in the coaching world. After solid, if unspectacular years at NC State, Canada turned Pitt into one of college football’s best offenses in 2016. He turned that season into a huge pay day at LSU, but things didn’t work out between he and Ed Orgeron. Still, he’s done a very solid job at Maryland, even if the offense itself has been middling. Assuming the Terps don’t crater from here on out, he is the favorite to get the job.
It is a tricky finish, though. Maryland hosts Michigan State this weekend, travels to Canada’s alma mater Indiana, hosts Ohio State, and finishes at Penn State.
Scott Satterfield – Appalachian State Mountaineers head coach
Satterfield guided his alma mater Appalachian State’s transition from the FCS to FBS ranks. He’s done an incredible job of it. He is 46-24 overall, with a 34-10 Sun Belt mark, two conference titles, an 11-2 record in a year when the Mountaineers were edged out for the Sun Belt, and a 3-0 bowl record.
Last week, Appalachian State cracked the Top 25. A consequent loss to a resurgent Georgia Southern team bounced them right out of it, but he’s still done an incredible job. The Boone, N.C. school is in the same general area of the country as Maryland, and the Terps job would be an appropriate step up.
Geoff Collins – Temple Owls head coach
Before taking over Temple, Collins was best known as the defensive coordinator under Dan Mullen at Mississippi State, and then Jim McElwain at Florida, during the two years in which the Gators captured the SEC East.
His experience isn’t limited to the Southeast though. Collins is thriving in Philadelphia at Temple, and has experience at everywhere from Fordham down to Western Carolina, Georgia Tech, and UCF. That is a lot of important potential recruiting grounds for the Terps.
Collins’ Owls also beat Canada and the Terrapins this season, 35-14 in College Park. The Owls are 12-9 under Collins, with an 8-4 record in the tough AAC, and a Gasparilla Bowl win last season.
Neal Brown – Troy Trojans head coach
It is a bit surprising that Neal Brown is still at Troy. The Trojans are 31-15 under the 38-year old, with a 20-8 Sun Belt record, a 2-0 bowl record, and a pair of double-digit win seasons. Last year, the team won the conference en route to the New Orleans Bowl.
If fans are familiar with Brown’s name, it is likely thanks to a pair of monumental wins in the last few years. Last fall, the Trojans stunned the LSU Tigers at Death Valley, 24-21. This year, Troy handed Scott Frost and Nebraska a loss in Lincoln.
Brown is another coach that has been all over the country. He spent his college career at Kentucky and UMass, and coached at both schools, as well as Sacred Heart, Delaware, and Texas Tech, so he had experience all over the country, including a few spots relatively close to Maryland.
Jason Candle – Toledo Rockets head coach
The shine may be a bit off Candle, whose Rockets are having an uncharacteristic down season at 4-4. Still, Toledo has a long history of turning out big-time head coaches, and Candle’s overall resume is quite strong. The Rockets won the MAC last season at 11-3, and he is 25-11 overall, with a 15-5 MAC record.
His experience isn’t quite as wide-ranging though. All of his coaching has been done at his alma mater Mount Union and Toledo.