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The Roanoke Times (Virginia)

 

The father of Jordan McNair, the 19-year-old Maryland football player who died of heatstroke weeks after collapsing at practice in May, called for the firing of Terps head football coach DJ Durkin Thursday.

In an interview with Michael Strahan on ABC's "Good Morning America," Martin McNair said the coach — who is on administrative leave along with three other staff members pending a review of the team's culture — should not return to the sidelines in College Park, or anywhere else.

"He shouldn't be able to work with anybody else's kid," he said. "Of course he should be fired."

The 19-year-old died in June, two weeks after he had trouble finishing a conditioning test that consisted of 10 110-yard sprints.

University of Maryland President Wallace Loh and athletic director Damon Evans met with McNair's parents to apologize and take "legal and moral responsibility" for the circumstances leading to his death, Loh said this week.

During the "Good Morning America" interview, McNair's mother, Tonya Wilson, said if the program has the "toxic culture" that has been referenced in ESPN reports, she is sure her son would have pushed himself as hard as he could to make sure he fit in — even to his detriment.

"He would give his all," Wilson said. "He would give his best because someone had asked him to do something. He wouldn't've stopped."

Hassan Murphy, an attorney for the family, said he had "no doubt" that such a culture existed on the practice field.

"It's what led them to push Jordan beyond what his body was able to tolerate," Murphy said.

McNair's father said he hadn't been in the hospital since he was born.

"Here was a kid that was healthy for 19 years," he said. "He worked hard every day at all games, never missed a game, never missed a practice. Initially, it was hard to wrap our minds around the severity of a heat stroke."

Martin McNair's father said parents teach their children that hard work will lead to success, and that he and Wilson sent their son to the university and its football staff, trusting they would "keep him safe."

"They did anything but," he said.

Taggart still won't pick starting QB for FSU

BRADENTON, Fla. — Florida State wrapped up four days of training camp at IMG Academy with coach Willie Taggart saying the Seminoles accomplished several things as they prepare for their season opener against Virginia Tech.

"I thought we got a lot done," Taggart said Thursday. "I'm really impressed with the way the guys competed in practice. Plays that they're not familiar with, we got better."

What Taggart wasn't ready to announce, though, is his starting quarterback.

Redshirt junior Deondre Francois, sophomore James Blackman and redshirt freshman Bailey Hockman are competing for the job. All three have been taking snaps with the first team.

Taggart said he's looking for playmaking and leadership.

"Part of it is getting the ball to the right guys, some of it is just building them up and encouraging them to do the things they are supposed to," Taggart said. "But a lot of it comes down to playmaking. As a quarterback, you can make a receiver better by putting the ball on him."

Taggart said the trip also helped build chemistry within the team. The Seminoles, who signed a multi-year agreement to host a portion of preseason camp at IMG. headed back to Tallahassee after Thursday's practice.

"I thought we got a lot closer as a football team," Taggart said. "You see 30 guys on their down time just hanging and being around each other having fun."

Meanwhile, Taggart announced defensive end Tre Lawson is no longer with the team.

Lawson, a redshirt freshman, did not make the trip to IMG. Offensive lineman Cole Minshew did not practice, but Taggart expects him to be ready for the opener.

 

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