In December 2015, Michigan defensive end Chase Winovich saw former defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin walking out of a building on Michigan’s campus.
“I was walking into the building and he was leaving the building and I was like, ‘Hey, what’s up, Coach Durkin?’ and he was like, ‘Hey, what’s up, Chase?’” Winovich said. “It was casual.”
However, two hours later, Winovich saw on ESPN that Durkin was in College Park for a press conference to become the new coach of the Terrapins.
“He’s at a press conference, in Maryland, two hours later!” Winovich said. “I was like, ‘What the heck?’ I was perplexed.”
After 11 months, Durkin finally returned to Michigan on Saturday. The Wolverines earned a 59-3 victory over the first-year coach.
“I saw him after the game and I said, ‘Hey, Coach, thanks for saying goodbye to me,’ and I said it sarcastically,” Winovich said. “He coached my brother at Bowling Green, so I knew him as a kid, and I saw him, when he was leaving and I didn’t know he was leaving at the time. It was hush-hush.”
The Terrapins are just one win away from bowl eligibility, but the might have to do it without starting quarterback Perry Hills, who Michigan knocked out of the game in the second quarter.
“We’re a fragile team,” Durkin said after Maryland’s worst loss of the season. “There’s a lot of things we need to do to grow up as a program.”