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Maryland's DJ Durkin won't coach Michigan's bowl game: 'If I'm here, I'm here'

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Maryland's new coach won't be splitting duties this month.

University of Maryland president Wallace Loh and head football coach DJ Durkin at a Thursday news conference.
University of Maryland president Wallace Loh and head football coach DJ Durkin at a Thursday news conference.
Sung-Min Kim

As new Maryland head coach DJ Durkin sat for an introductory press conference in College Park Thursday, he said one thing of particular immediate news value: He won't be coaching his former team, the Michigan Wolverines, in a bowl game.

Durkin spent this season as Michigan's defensive coordinator. It's rather common for hired-away assistants from bowl-eligible teams to take head coaching jobs but stick around, in the interim, to coach their previous teams' bowls. Just last year, for instance, Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi coached the Spartans in the Cotton Bowl after being introduced as Pitt's head coach, and Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman took the Houston head coach job before stewarding the Buckeyes offense to a College Football Playoff win.

But Michigan, at 9-3, won't have its defensive coordinator for one last ride.

"I said to the players earlier today when we had a team meeting, I am an all-in type of guy," Durkin said. "If I'm here, I'm here, so I think splitting between would have been hard for me to do."

Durkin took time, too, to praise Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and his now-former players.

"I can't say enough about the support that the University of Michigan, [interim athletic director] Jim Hackett and everyone have had for me to allow me to go do that," Durkin said. "And also the players at Michigan. Those guys really bought in and did a heck of a job this year. I'm going to miss those guys and know they'll do a great job in the game."