Timeline: Maryland’s off-season

Robert Larkin

As Saturday approaches for Maryland’s season opener with Texas, what takes place at FedExField will almost feel like a “sideshow,” University of Maryland sports editor Andy Kostka told The Daily Texan. 

Off-the-field distractions for the Terrapins, including the death of freshman Jordan McNair and the ESPN story accusing the coaching staff of creating a “toxic culture,” have lasted all summer.

It all started on May 29, during an offseason workout organized by the football team’s strength and conditioning staff. Offensive lineman Jordan McNair started displaying signs of heat exhaustion as he reportedly struggled to stand upright during a series of 110-yard sprints. He was later taken into the Maryland football facilities for further examination. The attorney for the McNair family told ESPN that McNair has a seizure at 5 p.m.

Nearly one hour later, at 5:58 p.m., an unidentified person called 911 to report that McNair was “hyperventilating” and “unable to control his breath.” He was later taken to the hospital by paramedics and arrived at 6:36 p.m. with a body temperature of 106 degrees. The hospital transported him to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore that same evening.  

After two weeks of hospitalization, McNair died at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. He was 19 years old.

Here is a timeline of the events following May 29 and what has occurred at the University of Maryland in the time since:

June 4: In a statement, the Maryland football program confirms that McNair has been hospitalized after an offseason workout and is in “critical, but stable condition.” 

June 13: McNair dies at the age of 19 at the trauma hospital. At the time of his death, no cause of death is announced. 

June 14: Maryland athletic director Damon Evans hosts a press conference one day after McNair’s death with head football coach DJ Durkin and team physician Dr. Frank Henn in attendance. Evans answers questions from the media and provides details on the May 29 workout and timeline leading to McNair’s hospitalization. He also adds that an external investigation will be conducted into the events that day.   

June 19: Maryland releases a statement to announce that sports medicine consultant Rod Walters will conduct the external review on the events leading to McNair’s hospitalization and death. Walters previously served as an athletic trainer at Appalachian State and South Carolina. 

July 16: McNair’s parents make an announcement on the website for the newly created Jordan McNair Foundation.

August 10: Multiple players and people close to the Maryland football program speak to ESPN about a “toxic” culture under head coach DJ Durkin and strength and conditioning coach Rick Court. Details include allegations of the public humiliation of players and extreme verbal abuse. One former Maryland staff member tells ESPN, “I would never, ever, ever allow my child to be coached there.”          

August 11: Following the report by ESPN, Evans releases a statement saying Durkin will be placed on administrative leave. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada becomes Maryland’s interim head coach.

August 12: The attorney for the McNair family tells ESPN that Durkin should be fired for his role in the workout that led to McNair’s death. He also says the family will consider a civil lawsuit. 

August 13: Strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigns amid the allegations presented in the ESPN report. Court settles terms on his contract and will receive $315,000. 

August 14: Maryland president William Loh and athletic director Damon Evans host a press conference regarding the investigation into McNair’s death. Loh says that Maryland accepts “legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day.”