Maryland parts with strength coach Rick Court in wake of Jordan McNair's death, keeps DJ Durkin on leave
McNair died on June 13, two weeks after collapsing during a team workout
Maryland has parted ways with strength & conditioning coach Rick Court following the death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair.
Court has been one of the primary figures in an ongoing investigation into the immediate care given to McNair after he collapsed during a team workout on May 29. In the minutes and hours after McNair collapsed, signs of heatstroke were not recognized or addressed by the training staff. McNair reportedly had a seizure afterward, and a 911 call was not placed until nearly an hour after McNair's collapse, according a report published by ESPN last week. McNair passed away two weeks later after receiving a kidney transplant while hospitalized.
"Some of our policies and protocols do not conform to best practices," said Maryland president Wallace Loh during a Tuesday press conference. "They basically misdiagnosed the situation. No vital signs were taken. For me, that was enough to say, I need to come and personally apologize."
Athletic director Damon Evans provided further details to the specific steps that were not taken.
"We have learned that Jordan did not receive appropriate medical care and mistakes were made by some of our athletic training personnel. ... The emergency response plan was not appropriately followed," Evans said. "Second, the care we provided was not consistent with best practices. And third, heat illness was not properly identified or treated. Our athletic training staff did not take Jordan's temperature and did not apply a cold-water immersion treatment."
Yahoo Sports writer Pete Thamel reported Tuesday that Court has settled the terms of his contract, resigning from his position as opposed to being terminated. He will receive a lump sum of $315,000, and there is a mutual release of all claims by the two parties.
The ESPN report last week detailed what was termed as "toxic culture" within the Maryland football program that included alleged mistreatment and humiliation of players, a coaching environment of fear and intimidation, and training above and beyond the normal practices of a football program.
Court was one of coach DJ Durkin's first hires when he got the job ahead of to the 2016 season. Here's how Durkin described Court in an article on SI.com in April 2016.
Rick Court, our strength coach, is our most important hire I made. That guy is unbelievable. When you're changing a culture, that's where it starts. And so we've flipped the world upside down on these guys. There have been struggles, but there hasn't been any, This is garbage. None of that. [The players] want to be good. That's all been good. There hasn't been much pushback that way.
Rick and I are as about in line with how we see things as you can possibly be. There are 8,000 things coming your way, especially when you're starting a new program. That's one area I don't have to worry about. The guy is relentless with his energy every day, but has a great rapport with the kids. He's a guy that can coach guys hard, but they love him. It's not where he's yelling at you for no reason. He's going to grind you, get after you. But the guys love him.
Court is a 2002 graduate of Michigan State; he previously worked at Mississippi State, Ohio State, San Diego State, Toledo and Bowling Green.
Durkinfrom Maryland as the Terrapins investigate the aforementioned allegations of player mistreatment and abuse.
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