The Maryland football team had a successful opening season under D.J. Durkin in 2016.
Athlon Sports recently ranked all 130 college football coaches and the Big Ten had a very impressive showing. The publication ranked Durkin at No. 56, which happened to be 11th among the conference’s coaches.
Durkin was sandwiched between Tulsa’s Philip Montgomery and South Carolina’s Will Muschamp. Lovie Smith (No. 106), Tom Allen (No. 107), and Chris Ash (No. 110) were the Big Ten coaches that were ranked lower than Durkin.
"“Durkin is one of the Big Ten’s rising stars, and it’s only a matter of time before he moves up in our rankings. Additionally, Durkin’s No. 11 rank among the Big Ten shows just how deep this league is in coaching talent. Prior to taking over as Maryland’s head coach before the 2016 season, Durkin gathered a wealth of knowledge and experience as an assistant at Stanford, Bowling Green, Florida and Michigan. He worked under some of college football’s top coaches in those stints, including Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer. The Terrapins finished 3-9 in 2015 but showed marked improvement in Durkin’s first year, finishing with a 6-7 record. The Terrapins also won three games in league play and earned a trip to the Quick Lane Bowl. Additionally, Durkin is upgrading the roster via the recruiting trail. Maryland’s 2017 class ranked No. 18 in the 247Sports Composite and is considered the best in school history.”"
Durkin led Maryland to a 6-7 record during his first season as a head coach. After the Terps won just three games in 2015, Durkin had Maryland in the Quick Lane Bowl where they lost a hard-fought 36-30 battle at the hands of former ACC foe Boston College.
Maryland jumped out to a 4-0 start, including a convincing victory over Purdue in their Big Ten opener. The Terps did lose four of their final five regular season games and two of those contests were 50-plus point losses at the hands of Michigan and Ohio State.
Durkin did led his group to a 31-13 regular season finale win over Rutgers to gain bowl eligibility. It was the first time since the 2014 season that Maryland reached a bowl game.
The Terps could have similar success in 2017 despite having one of the most challenging schedules around. Maryland opens the season on the road in Austin as they battle Texas.