New Maryland football coach 'all in'
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — D.J. Durkin won't try to pull double-duty between his new job as Maryland's new football coach and defensive coordinator for Michigan.
He believes there's just too much work to put into the Terrapins' rebuilding job.
"I'm an all-in type of guy," Durkin said Thursday at his introductory press conference. "To me, if I'm here, I'm here. I think splitting between would have been hard for me to do."
So no bowl game for Durkin.
Instead, he'll get to work on recruiting and constructing a staff in his first full-time head coaching position. The 37-year-old served as Florida's interim head coach last year and led the Gators to the Birmingham Bowl, where Florida beat East Carolina.
Durkin inherits a program in a far different place than when predecessor Randy Edsall took over in 2011. Edsall is a Susquehannock High School graduate. Maryland moved to the Big Ten last year, and now sits in the same division as national powers Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.
While that makes the Terps' job imposing, Durkin relishes the challenge.
"I really identify with this program," Durkin said. "I think this is a blue-collar place, a blue-collar university, a blue-collar program. I think we compete in one of the best divisions and best conferences in the country. I embrace competition and I want to recruit guys who embrace that competition. To me, it's an easy sell."
Maryland is coming off a 3-9 season, its fourth losing season in the last seven years. Edsall was fired Oct. 10, and Mike Locksley served as the interim coach for the final six games. Durkin hopes to tap into what he views as fertile local recruiting territory.
"I think there's already good talent in the building," Durkin said. "Right in our backyard is one of the richest talent areas in the country. I think we have to do a great job of recruiting and keeping those guys close to home."
They'll hear their pitch from a man who began his career as a graduate assist ant under Urban Meyer at Bowling Green. He worked again for Meyer at Florida, and also had stints under Jim Harbaugh at Stanford and Michigan. Those experiences and Durkin's energy helped convince Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson he has found the right coach.
"It's based on leadership and who was going to be the best leader for our young men," said Anderson, who declined to disclose Durkin's contract terms. "As I went through the process, we started to meet with many people and at the end of the day the person who stuck out in our mind was D.J."
Durkin said he does not want to hastily construct a new staff, preferring to take his time to find the correct fits. But he intends to remain busy in the coming weeks as he settles into his new job.
"The biggest thing for me is getting on the phone with the guys we're actively recruiting and getting new guys on board and just hitting the ground running," Durkin said. "We're right in the middle of a contact period, so we have to take advantage of this time."