Jim Harbaugh says he hasn’t talked with DJ Durkin since he was put on leave by Maryland. When asked about Durkin’s coaching style, Harbaugh said he can’t speak for any head coach or program but his own.
— Dan Murphy (@DanMurphyESPN) August 14, 2018
Jim Harbaugh used to employ DJ Durkin, the Maryland coach who now has a dead player scandal on his head and at least one former Michigan player — Jabrill Peppers — telling Rich Eisen that Durkin used used a style that’s “kind of like bully coaching.” In fact, Harbaugh employed Durkin twice, once at Stanford for a couple years and then as Michigan defensive coordinator before he was hired as Maryland’s head coach in 2016.
It would only make sense that a reporter would ask Harbaugh about Durkin’s time as one of his top assistants. We’re only talking about guys who used to play basketball games where blood was spilled between these two in a legendary game of pickup that has become Durkin-Harbaugh lore.
Let’s go back to when Durkin verified many of the details from that game on Jim Rome’s show:
“There’s a lot of truth to that,” Durkin said with a laugh. “I don’t know the exact timing of the game, but it was probably close to 90 minutes.
“It was ugly basketball, let’s put it at that, and I was obviously an assistant coach and I believe in having good job security, so in the end I think Jim pulled that one out. But there was no fouls being called and there was a lot of blood on the court.”
Rome followed up, asking whether Harbaugh “pulled it out” or if Durkin let him win. He answered with a chuckle.
“I’ll let you be the judge of that.”
Here’s an account from former Stanford OL Ben Muth from back in 2015:
“It took like an hour and a half, and it ended 4-3 or whatever,” recalls former Stanford offensive tackle Ben Muth. “Neither of them would call a foul. Someone did in the first five minutes, the other guy made fun of him, so it was on from there.
“It was like that James Caan ‘Rollerball’ movie, basically a fight to the death.”
Now, here’s a simple question for Harbaugh: “Would you consider DJ Durkin’s style ‘bully coaching’ while he was at Stanford or Michigan?”
I mean, you have former Stanford players CJ Easter and Blaise Johnson out there saying things like this. Now I don’t have time to get Blaise Johnson on the phone, but maybe there’s a still employed sports reporter (The Athletic?) who wants to do a story on what Durkin was up to going all the way back to his Stanford days.