Maryland coach DJ Durkin was fired on Wednesday night, ending a tenure that became marred in controversy. Following the tragic death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair in an offseason workout, Durkin was placed on leave prior to the start of the 2018 season. An investigation was conducted into the workout, along with allegations of a toxic culture in College Park. Following the completion of the investigations, Durkin was reinstated to the team on Tuesday and was slated to coach Maryland’s Week 10 matchup against Michigan State. However, the backlash against Durkin’s reinstatement prompted the program to reverse course.
The next coach of Maryland will inherit a program that’s located in a fertile recruiting territory but is also in a division with Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan State. Needless to say, the path to a division title is very difficult. However, with the talent available in this area, this program has potential for the right coach.
Who might replace Durkin at Maryland? Here are 10 names to watch:
10 Coaching Candidates to Replace DJ Durkin at Maryland
Neal Brown, Head Coach, Troy
Brown’s name is likely to come up in connection with Power 5 jobs this offseason or over the next few years. The Kentucky native worked as an assistant at Troy, Texas Tech and Kentucky before landing the top spot with the Trojans. He’s 31-15 through four years at Troy, including 21 victories from 2016-17. Brown also has a strong track record of developing successful offenses.
Matt Canada, Interim Head Coach, Maryland
Canada assumed the interim head coach title after DJ Durkin was placed on leave prior to the start of the 2018 season. Canada has guided the program to a solid 5-3 start, which included a win over Texas in the season opener. The Indiana native has experience from stops as an assistant at Northern Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, NC State, Pitt and LSU. Canada has never been a head coach before, but he’s made a strong impression in 2018.
Jason Candle, Head Coach, Toledo
Candle was promoted from offensive coordinator to head coach after Matt Campbell left to take the top spot at Iowa State after the 2015 regular season. Candle’s first game as head coach took place in the Boca Raton Bowl, as he guided the Rockets to a win over Temple. Toledo is 26-11 under Candle’s watch and claimed the 2017 MAC title.
Geoff Collins, Head Coach, Temple
Collins is a coach on the rise in the American Athletic Conference. The Georgia native has spent the last two years as the head coach at Temple, accumulating a 12-9 mark during that span. Prior to taking over in Philadelphia, Collins worked as the defensive coordinator at FIU (2010), Mississippi State (2011-14) and Florida (2015-16). He also worked at Alabama in an off-field role in 2007.
Ryan Day, Co-Offensive Coordinator, Ohio State
Day’s stock is on the rise after a stint as Ohio State’s interim head coach for the first three games of the 2018 season. He joined the staff prior to the 2017 campaign to share the co-coordinator role on offense with Kevin Wilson and coach quarterbacks. The Buckeyes led the Big Ten in scoring in 2017 and own the top spot once again in ’18. Prior to Ohio State, Day worked in the NFL with the Eagles and 49ers under Chip Kelly and had stints as a college assistant at Temple (2006 and 2012) and Boston College (2007-11 and 2013-14).
Tony Elliott, Co-Offensive Coordinator, Clemson
Similar to fellow Clemson assistant Brent Venables, it’s only a matter of time before Elliott becomes a head coach at the FBS level. He’s worked with the Tigers since 2011, coaching running backs for four seasons (2011-14) and sharing the co-offensive coordinator role with Jeff Scott since 2014. Elliott also had stints at South Carolina State (2006-07) and Furman (2008-10).
Mike Leach, Head Coach, Washington State
Leach’s name came up in connection with this job the last time it was open and was also in the mix at Tennessee last offseason. Leach went 84-43 from 2000-09 at Texas Tech and never had a losing season in Lubbock. After he was dismissed following the 2009 season, Leach took over as Washington State’s coach prior to the 2012 campaign. The Cougars are 45-39 since that season and won at least eight games every year from 2015-17. Washington State is 7-1 and the favorite to win the Pac-12 North through Week 9 this fall.
Lance Leipold, Head Coach, Buffalo
Leipold is an under-the-radar name to watch in coaching searches this offseason. From 2007-14, he guided Wisconsin-Whitewater to a 109-6 record and claimed six Division II titles. Leipold jumped to the FBS level in 2015 and took the head-coaching job at Buffalo. The Bulls are 21-24 over the last four years but are trending up with an 8-1 record through nine games in 2018. Leipold also has a stop on his resume (recruiting assistant) from 2001-03 on Frank Solich’s staff at Nebraska.
Mike Locksley, Co-Offensive Coordinator, Alabama
Locksley is a native of Washington, D.C. and has previous experience at Maryland from stints as an assistant from 1997-02 and again from 2012-15. He served as the Terrapins’ interim coach in 2015, finishing 1-5 after Randy Edsall was dismissed that season. Locksley is regarded for his work on the recruiting trail and also has stints as an assistant at Army, Florida, Illinois and currently at Alabama. Locksley has helped the Crimson Tide develop into one of the nation’s top offenses under quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The downside to Locksley’s candidacy is his stint as New Mexico’s head coach from 2009-11. Locksley was dismissed during the 2011 season and accumulated a 2-26 record in his 28 games on the sidelines with the Lobos.
Scott Satterfield, Head Coach, Appalachian State
Satterfield is 46-24 through six seasons at Appalachian State and has guided the program through a transition from the FCS level to FBS. The Mountaineers went 14-2 in Sun Belt play from 2016-17 and are 5-2 through seven contests in 2018. Satterfield was a successful quarterback for Appalachian State under former coach Jerry Moore and started his coaching career in 1998 with this program. He also has stints from Toledo (2009) and FIU (2010-11) on his resume.