Jordan McNair’s parents condemned the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents after the panel announced its decision to retain the University of Maryland’s athletic director and head football coach despite their son’s death after a football team workout.
The McNair family had publicly called for head coach DJ Durkin to be fired, saying he should not be allowed to work with anyone else’s child. The board on Tuesday said it would keep both Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans, while university President Wallace Loh will retire at the end of June.
“I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach and somebody spit in my face,” McNair’s father, Marty, said about the decision to retain Durkin.
The decision came after McNair, an offensive lineman, died after suffering heatstroke during a team workout in May. A damning investigation into the university’s football program followed his death.
McNair’s mother, Tonya Wilson, said she misses her son every day — and the regents’ actions didn’t help.
Baltimore-based lawyer Hassan Murphy said the board validated the actions of Durkin and his staff by “continuing the employment of the man who failed in his primary responsibility to Jordan.”
“Coach Durkin had an obligation to keep his players safe and he failed,” Murphy said. “Yet, he remains.”
As of Tuesday, the only person who had paid for the athletic department’s failings was McNair, he said.
“Jordan paid with his life,” Murphy said.
Baltimore Sun reporter Sarah Meehan contributed to this article.