Former Maryland coach DJ Durkin could become the latest former Football Bowl Subdivision coach to rebuild his career at Alabama.
According to a report published Thursday on AL.com, Durkin has been working with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban’s football program in a “consultant-like capacity” for the past week.
The 40-year-old Durkin was fired Oct. 31, one day after being reinstated by the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents following nearly three months on paid administrative leave.
Durkin lost his job in the aftermath of offensive lineman Jordan McNair’s death in mid-June and allegations of a “toxic” culture in the way he ran the football program during his 2½-year tenure at Maryland.
Neither Durkin nor a spokesperson for Saban could be reached for comment. Durkin’s attorney, Jeffrey Klein, declined comment.
Since Maryland announced Durkin was fired without cause, he was to receive the $5.4 million owed to him as part of his buyout.
Durkin’s presence in Tuscaloosa, Ala., comes as Michael Locksley, the Tide offensive coordinator who was hired last week to be Maryland’s new coach, returns to Alabama to prepare the team for its Dec. 29 College Football Playoff semifinal against Oklahoma.
Locksley, who has spent the past week talking to current Maryland players, recruiting and building his staff, will finish his duties as offensive coordinator for the top-seeded Crimson Tide.
Alabama is trying to win its second straight national championship. If the Crimson Tide beats the fourth-seeded Sooners, Locksley will continue to do double-duty through the championship game, scheduled for Jan. 7 in Santa Clara, Calif.
If Durkin is hired by Saban, it would likely be in a noncoaching role as a defensive analyst, similar to the one former Tennessee coach Butch Jones has played as an offensive analyst this season.
Other head coaches have worked under Saban with hopes of resurrecting their careers.
After being fired at Southern California during the 2013 season, Lane Kiffin served briefly as an offensive analyst at Alabama and then was promoted a few weeks later to offensive coordinator, where he spent three seasons before going to Florida International as head coach.
Locksley, too, started rebuilding his career at Alabama. After serving as Maryland’s interim coach when Randy Edsall was fired six games into the 2015 season, Locksley did not get the permanent job and resurfaced in Tuscaloosa as an offensive analyst.
After spending last season as the team’s co-offensive coordinator, Locksley was promoted to offensive coordinator and wound up winning this season’s Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the nation’s top FBS assistant.