Podcast Episode 29: Baltimore Sports whip-around with 105.7 The Fan late-night host Terry Ford

Image Credit: The Baltimore Feather 

Welcome to Episode 29 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

Following a a heartbreaking 27-24 overtime loss to the Chiefs, the top of Episode 29 revisits the Ravens’ valiant effort at arrowhead stadium (3:20). We’ll also take a look at recent quotes from Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (18:23), reveal our lists for Who’s Trending (32:20), and go over some things to watch for on Sunday when the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (45:42).

Up next, we welcome in this week’s guest, 105.7 The Fan late night talk show host Terry Ford (54:58). In our exclusive interview with Uncle Terry, you’ll hear his takeaways from the Ravens loss and his thoughts on the six managerial candidates for the Orioles (interview was recorded hours before the Brandon Hyde story broke). At the end of our conversation with Terry, he shares some interesting stories from his long radio career, such as the strangest phone call he’s ever taken on the air.

After Mr. Ford hops off the phone line, we get you caught up with all things Maryland Basketball (1:11:07). Both Nolan and Jake got a chance to watch the Terps in-person from the Royal Farms Arena on Saturday when the Terps took down Loyola Chicago 55-41. With the Terps now at 9-2, does this team have what it takes to make some noise in March?

To wrap up the show, we dive into our weekly numbers segment, taking a look at the best Baltimore sports athletes to wear the number 29 (1:20:51). In addition, you’ll hear our raw reactions to the Orioles reportedly hiring their new manager, Chicago Cubs Bench Coach Brandon Hyde, as the story broke in the middle of the numbers segment.

You can find the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloudiTunes, and Google Play. Please leave us a review on iTunes, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode. Thank you for listening!

The Charm City Bird Watch Podcast is brought to you by Seven Sports Bar & Grille. For a limited time only on behalf on Charm City Bird Watch, you can receive a 10% discount off any entree dish when you tell your server or bartender the promo code ‘Charm City.’

Advertisements

The darkness has subsided: The journey to justice for Jordan McNair

COLLEGE PARK, MD — What a mess. The University of Maryland has fired head football coach DJ Durkin just a mere 24 hours after his reinstatement, the school announced Wednesday evening.

From the start, this whole process has been a mismanaged debacle. Tuesday, Coach Durkin was reinstated by the university’s board of regents. The board also informed Athletic Director, Damon Evans that he would retain his title. University President Wallace D. Loh announced that he would be retiring in June of 2019.

Here’s a look at the events that led to Durkin’s demise.

May 29th- 19-year-old Maryland offensive Jordan McNair collapsed during a conditioning workout. McNair was said to be showing signs of extreme exhaustion during 110-yard sprints. At a local hospital, McNair’s body was found to have a temperature of 106-degrees. McNair died 15 days later on June 13th.

June 14th- Maryland held a press conference with Damon Evans and Durkin. Evans detailed a timeline of events that led to McNair’s consequent collapse and eventual hospitalization. Evans announced that an external investigation would take place. Maryland hired Rod Walters, a Sports Medicine Consultant, to lead an external investigation in the death of McNair.

August 10th- ESPN releases an article reporting a toxic coaching culture under Coach Durkin and strength and conditioning coach Rick Court. The articles report an environment rooted with bullying and humiliation.

“Multiple sources close to the program describe past behavior of intimidation, humiliation and verbal abuse that created a culture of fear for the players. The sources also reveal allegations of unhealthy eating habits and using food punitively against the players.”

Maryland quickly announced that four staff members would be placed on administrative leave. Durkin, Court, head football athletic trainer Wes Robinson and director of athletic training Steve Nordwall, were all placed on administrative leave. Offensive coordinator Matt Canada served as interim head coach in Durkin’s absence.

University President Wallace D. Loh released a twitter statement on August 11th.

August 14th- President Loh and Evans held a press conference to announce initial report findings from the McNair investigation. Evans announced that the three staffers – Robinson, Nordwall , and Durkin –  would remain on administrative leave. He also shared that Court resigned. President Loh stated the following:

“The university accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made.”

“Some of our policies and protocols do not conform to best practices. Some of the actions of our athletic training staff, not the coaching staff, [but] our athletic training staff – they basically misdiagnosed the situation. No vital signs were taken; other safeguard actions that should have been taken were not. For me, that was enough to say I need to come and personally apologize.”

“We will do everything possible that the situation that Jordan McNair found himself in will never happen again,”

Aug. 17th- The Board of Regents takes over both the investigation into the workout in which McNair collapsed as well as the investigation into the football team’s “toxic” culture.

Sept. 21st- The board releases the Walters Report findings that led to McNair’s death. The report found that Maryland’s athletic trainers were too late in recognizing McNair’s symptoms. The trainers did not properly treat him for heatstroke, including not implementing cold water immersion. The report also found that the field is typically equipped with cold water immersion tanks, but they were missing on May 29 because the practice switched location from the stadium to the practice field.

“Although change of venue is not uncommon in outdoor sports, it is essential that sufficient time must be allowed to ensure minimal medical equipment is set up by the athletic training staff prior to practice initiating.”

Rod Walters also provided a timeline of events from the workout on May 29th, proving that more than 90 minutes elapsed from the time Jordan collapsed to the time he was transported to an area hospital.

Oct. 23rd – Oct. 25th: The Board of Regents held meetings to discuss the findings in the report on the Maryland football culture under Durkin. The report found that there was “no toxic culture” at Maryland, and that the culture of the program did not contribute to the death of Jordan McNair. The investigation did find disturbing things about the program under Durkin’s management. The finding included instances of bullying and humiliation by Court, in addition to reports of a dysfunctional athletic department.

Oct. 26th- The Board of Regents holds another meeting in Baltimore where it hears from Loh, Evans, and CoachDurkin.

Oct. 30th- The Board of Regents announces the recommendation to reinstate Durkin and for Evans to retain his title as Maryland’s athletics director. President Loh announced that he will retire as president in June 2019. USM board chair James Brady stated:

“We believe that Coach Durkin has been unfairly blamed for the dysfunction in the athletic department,”

“While he bears some responsibility, it is not fair to place all of it at his feet.”

Durkin would return to the team that afternoon.  Reports claim that players, including starters, walked out of the meeting. Many players expressed displeasure on social media.

Oct. 31st- Amidst mounting pressure and backlash, President Loh makes the executive decision to fire Durkin. Loh gave the order to Damon Evans who informed Durkin late Wednesday. Durkin was reportedly shocked by the decision, and leaves without addressing the team.

Opinion

This seemingly never-ending disaster has put a real question mark on the University of Maryland’s credibility. From start to finish, the situation has been mismanaged from the medical treatment of  Jordan McNair during that May 29th workout to the tone deaf decisions of the Maryland Board of Regents. Thus leading me to question the character of Durkin. The ultimate responsibility of the student athletes’ welfare on this football team falls at his feet. A failure by any staff member, medical or football personnel, is a failure of Durkin’s.

There are absolutely zero excuses as to why trained medical staff couldn’t properly diagnose a heat stroke. Per the Walters report, McNair showed all of the clinical signs of a heat stroke. They failed. The staff was either unprepared, uneducated, or ignorant as to the the severity of the situation. Either way, Durkin is responsible and a life has been lost.

At the start of this nightmare, I thought to myself there is absolutely no way Durkin can come back from this. What parent in their right mind would trust their child’s well being in the care of a program that has already shown to be incompetent? As the report came out, it justified my feelings toward the situation.

Along with most of the country, I was shocked. While shock loomed over us all, I guarantee nobody was more shocked than Jordan’s parents, two people who just lost their son due to negligence, and those responsible were given a free pass. Marty McNair shared his displeasure,

“I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach, and somebody spit in my face.”

Reports of fights in the locker room over the Durkin decision reemphasized the report findings that this program is full of dysfunction and it doesn’t start at the football team. It’s now clear to the world that the dysfunction starts at the University’s  administration.

The University of Maryland’s leadership was unprepared for the type of backlash that they would receive following the decision to reinstate Durkin. The only person who was proven to have morals, as well as the intestinal fortitude to make the ultimate decision to fire Durkin was President Loh. Through reports, Loh was said to act alone and was solely responsible for firing Durkin.

While darkness has loomed over the University of Maryland during this unfortunate series of events, remembering and honoring Jordan McNair is the light that will lead players and the remaining coaching staff through this time. Long Live Number 79.

Image Credit: USA TODAY

Keys to Victory – Maryland Terrapins Vs. #15 Michigan Wolverines

Ann Arbor- After a much-needed bye week, the Maryland football team charges into the teeth of the BIG10 elite. The Terps are walking in to the “Big House” for Michigan’s homecoming game. Both teams bolster hard-nosed, run stopping defenses, and elite running back groups. But the Michigan Wolverines are easily the toughest opponent the Terps have faced this season, and things could quickly get out of hand.

The Maryland Terps (3-1, 1-0 BIG10) are 1-6 all time against the Wolverines (4-1, 2-0 BIG10) . Including a 35-10 drubbing in College Park last season. Maryland won their first BIG10 game against the Wolverines, in Brady Hoke’s last game as head coach back in 2014. Since then the Wolverines have ripped off 3 straight.

Key To Victory

Establish the run – Although the Terps average more than 250 yards on the ground per game (258.5ypg), they are facing a top 10 rush defense. Anthony McFarland and Ty Johnson can strike from any spot on the field behind a stout offensive line. McFarland is averaging a huge 10.8 yards per carry on 27 carries. The Maryland offensive line needs to start fast and dominate at the point of attack. The offensive line led by Damian Prince and Derwin Gray should be back to full speed after the bye week, both having missed sometime due to nagging injuries. The Wolverines defense allows a little more than 86 yards a game on the ground (86.4ypg), so this will be no easy feat.

Play mistake free football – At times the Terps have certainly looked sloppy, averaging more than nine penalties, and 90.5 penalty yards per game, the second-most in the Big Ten. With a top 10 defense like Wolverines the Terps will not be able to afford these types of mistakes.

“We can’t have penalties,” Canada said. “You can’t beat yourselves, and certainly we’ve had that happen in a couple games where we’ve cost ourselves some opportunities.”

Kasim Hill has to show up – For as explosive as the Terps offense has been the weakest link is certainly the play of sophomore quarterback Kasim Hill. The Terps offense is a feast or famine type offense they have had 15 plays for 25 or more yards, but have struggled to sustain drives. Luckily, the Terps haven’t needed to call on Hill much, with the shear dominance the run game has been able to accomplish. Back in week three the Temple Owls came into College Park with a simple yet effective game plan, STOP THE RUN. Quarterback Kasim Hill went 7 for 17 for 56 yards, and backup Tyrrell Pigrome was 1 for 4 for 7 yards. Both threw an interception. The Wolverines are going to have the same exact game plan, stop the run, and make Hill beat us. The Terps are going to need more from Kasim Hill if they want to be victorious at the Big House.

Slow down Karan HigdonKaran Higdon has been an absolute mauler for the Wolverines this season, with 76 carries for 479 yards and five touchdowns on the year. Higdon is coming off a solid game, ripping off 31 carries for 115 yards and two touchdowns against Northwestern. But, the Terps have a solid run defense, led upfront by transfers Tre Watson and Byron Cowart. The run defense ranks fourth in the Big Ten at 104 yards allowed per game and just 2.7 per rush. The Terrapins defense should come in with similar game plan to the Wolverines, stop the run, and make the quarterback beat you. Unfortunately i think the Wolverines have the advantage with transfer junior Shea Patterson. Much like Kasim Hill, Patterson has not been asked to do much as the offense is centered around the run game.

Prediction

Michigan 33 Maryland 17

The Details:

  • When: Saturday October 6th, 12:00pm
  • Where: Michigan Stadium, “THE BIG HOUSE”, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Radio: 105.7TheFan
  • TV: ABC

Image Credit: The Baltimore Sun