The Maryland Terrapins ended their coaching search on Tuesday, filling its opening with Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin.
It wasn’t Dan Mullen, Mark Richt or a number of flashy names put together by the media over the course of the past few weeks or so. However, Durkin does come with perhaps the biggest pedigree possible in the world of college football.
He has served as an assistant coach twice under current Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, first as a defensive end and special teams coach (2007-09) and as the defensive coordinator at Michigan this past season.
It doesn’t stop there though, as Durkin got his start coaching under current Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer as a graduate assistant at Bowling Green and also had a stint working under him at Florida with Will Muschamp as his boss.
The list of coaches served under is impressive to say the least, but we’ve seen plenty of coaches from impressive coaching trees flame out to say the least. What makes this hire different?
Durkin is different because of his varied coaching resume and the success he’s seen at every stop he’s had. Coaching with some of the best minds in the industry not only rubs off but speaks volumes of his own abilities.
Winners surround themselves with other winners and when Harbaugh came to Michigan it was no mistake that Durkin was asked to become the defensive coordinator.
No one will know for sure if Durkin will succeed of course, but he lands in a nice position to be successful to be sure.
He’s youthful, has a reputation as an excellent recruiter and an impressive resume as a defensive coach. There’s also what the Terps have brewing and already are prepared to give Durkin.
Under Armour’s backing gives Durkin the “cool” factor and latest gear to play with. It also gives Durkin a leg up on the competition on the East Coast. Should Durkin bring some consistent success to the table, the athletic apparel giant is likely to pony up the money to a further degree.
Planting its flag with the Terps as the opposite of rival apparel company Nike, and it’s chose university Oregon, would be a huge statement. Under Armour has made significant donations already, but it is nowhere near what Nike has committed to the Ducks and winning could cure that.
A $155 million upgrade and re-work of the Terps’ football facilities are under way and Under Armour donated $25 million of that up front.
It all adds up to the reason why Durkin would take on this job after a decade plus as an assistant coach at some of the best programs college football has seen over that time frame.
If Durkin can’t combine his coaching and recruiting prowess with the new facilities and built-in recruiting advantage that is being in the middle of the D-M-V triangle, well then there isn’t much short of a miracle that can save this program.
Durkin will get every opportunity to succeed at the University of Maryland, and there’s little reason to believe past personal success hasn’t prepared him to take on this type of challenge.
Don’t be surprised to see him get this program up to competitive standards of the Big Ten in short order. Whether that means competing at the very top of the Big Ten on an annual basis is completely a different story though.