Parents of U. Md. football player who died after practice say coach should step down

WASHINGTON — The parents of a University of Maryland football player are speaking out for the first time since his death, weighing in on a report about a “toxic coaching culture” and calling for the head football coach to step down.

Offensive lineman Jordan McNair, 19, collapsed after a preseason conditioning drill on May 29 and died in a hospital two weeks later. According to an attorney for the family, the preliminary death certificate listed the cause of death as heatstroke.

When asked on “Good Morning America” if head coach DJ Durkin should resign, McNair’s father, Martin, said, “Yes, absolutely. He shouldn’t be able to work with anybody else’s kid.”

Martin McNair also described his son as healthy. “This was the first time he was in the hospital since he was born,” he said.

Jordan McNair’s mother, Tonya Wilson, added that if coaches verbally abused and humiliated players, as has been reported, it may have contributed to her son pushing himself too hard. “He would give his all. He would give his best because someone asked him to do something,” she said.

Durkin was placed on administrative leave following the death and a subsequent ESPN report that coaches bullied players. Strength and conditioning coach Rick Court has resigned.

On Tuesday, the school accepted responsibility for mistakes made in treating McNair at the scene. Athletic director Damon Evans said the 6-foot-4, 325-pound McNair completed a workout that involved running 10 110-yard sprints, but had trouble breathing after he was done.

A report on McNair’s death is expected by Sept. 15.

Jordan McNair’s parents also said they’ve formed a charity to raise awareness about heatstroke.

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