AP source: Maryland places strength coach on leave

Maryland placed the head of the football team’s strength and conditioning staff on paid leave while it investigates claims he verbally abused and humiliated players, a person briefed on the situation said.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Saturday on condition of anonymity because Maryland had not announced the decision regarding Rick Court. The person says athletic director Damon Evans spoke with the football team Saturday morning and head coach DJ Durkin was still leading the program. The football team practiced with Durkin.

Maryland has also placed two athletic training staffers, though the school did not identify them, on leave as it investigates the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair. The 19-year-old McNair was hospitalized May 29 after a team workout and died June 13. Dr.

ESPN reported head football athletic trainer Wes Robinson and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall were placed on leave by Maryland.

An ESPN story Friday quoted unidentified players, former players and former members of Durkin’s staff, who contended Court and Durkin created a toxic culture in the program.

Durkin is starting his third season at Maryland. The 40-year-old former Michigan defensive coordinator is 11-15 in two seasons after receiving a five-year, contract worth $12.5 million in December 2015. The Baltimore Sun reported Durkin sent a letter to parents of the Maryland players before the ESPN story was published. Durkin said in the letter he would be available to address any of the parents’ concerns.

“Our priority every day is the safety along with the academic, personal and athletic development of your sons,” the letter said.

Durkin brought Court to Maryland to lead the strength and conditioning staff in 2016. Court had been the head strength coach at Mississippi State since 2014 under coach Dan Mullen. Cort also worked with Durkin at Bowling Green in 2005 and ’06, when Durkin was an assistant.

By Associated Press