The leader of the Michigan football team’s vaunted defense is changing schools.
Maryland announced Wednesday that Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin will become its 36th head football coach, and will be officially introduced Thursday morning. The news was first reported by Sports Illustrated.
Rumors that Durkin would leave for College Park began as early as last week. Yahoo! Sports reported Nov. 25 that he had already interviewed for the job, though Durkin would not comment on those rumors during his press conference later that day. The Terrapins fired coach Randy Edsall on Oct. 11, eight days after losing to Michigan, 28-0. Maryland finished 2-10 this season (0-8 in the Big Ten).
Durkin helped lead the Wolverines’ resurgence this season, coaching a defense that finished fourth in the country in total yards allowed and 17th in points allowed. For a good part of the season, however, Michigan was ranked No. 1 in both categories.
A streak of three straight shutouts in the first half of the year vaulted the unit to the top of the rankings before a slump in November knocked the Wolverines down a few spots. Michigan gave up 41 points in a double-overtime win at Indiana on Nov. 14 and 42 more in a loss to Ohio State on Saturday.
Durkin has just over a month of head coaching experience. He served as defensive coordinator at Florida for the 2014 season, and the Gators fired head coach Will Muschamp at the end of the season. Durkin led the team during its bowl practices and in a 28-20 win over East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl before accepting the defensive coordinator job at Michigan.
Durkin will return to Ann Arbor on Nov. 5, 2016, when Maryland plays the Wolverines at Michigan Stadium.