Growing up in Ohio, were you an
Ohio State fan?
As a kid, you end up cheering for who
your parents cheer for. My dad was a
Notre Dame fan, so that’s who I grew up
You played football at Bowling Green
and then later coached there as
a graduate assistant under Urban
Meyer, now the head football coach
at Ohio State. Do you feel like you
lucked out joining his coaching staff
fresh out of college?
I certainly benefited from good timing.
I didn’t know him at all. I don’t think
anyone knew of him at the time—that
was his first head coaching job. I wasn’t
really certain or clear on what I wanted
to do, and luckily I had some guys that
were on the staff when I played there
that spoke highly enough of me for him
to offer me a job.
What were those early days like work-
ing for Urban Meyer?
Every day was a learning experience.
You’re talking about your first job, you’re
just trying to take in as much as you can.
It was a different time back then, too. It
was crazy, it was wild. It was really good.
To me, that was the most valuable learning experience you can have.
I think I learned a lot about the reasons you coach, what's behind it and the
right way to do it. I think the more you’re
coaching—and this is probably true in
any profession—the more you’re around
it, the more you understand people are
products of what their experiences are.
I was very fortunate at such a young age
to have such a great experience, to really
learn what coaching is all about and how
to do it the right way.
What is the right way to coach?
Being involved in your players’ lives, just
When did you realize that?
entrenching yourself in what’s going on
with them. Not just coaching football,
but making sure they’re taking care of
their academics, making sure you know
what’s going on with them off the field.
Almost taking them in like they’re your
own kids. That relationship you build is
what it’s all about. It’s not done that way
everywhere. I’d like to say it’s my own
doing, my own idea. I don’t know.
When I was a graduate assistant at Bowl-
ing Green, that’s where I learned what
it’s all about. There were two young men
on the team that I was assigned to watch
over and keep track of because they were
really good players that were struggling
with their grades. So I went through that
time of really building a relationship with
those guys and just seeing how you can
have a positive effect on a young man’s
life and help turn it around. That’s where
I acquired my philosophy on coaching.
And then it kind of became, wow,
this is a big deal, it’s a powerful thing.
It’s something really important you can
be a part of. That’s when I realized what PH
In 2016, the Terps
in DJ Durkin’s first
game as University
of Maryland head
He’s pictured with