UMD, Rick Court Part Ways

By: Eric Myers

After being at the forefront of a reported toxic culture within the football program, the University of Maryland and Rick Court, head strength and conditioning coach, have parted ways, athletic director Damon Evans announced Tuesday.

Before offering his resignation on Monday, Court was placed on administrative leave just hours after alleged instances of verbal abuse and humiliation at the player’s expense in a story published by ESPN.

“When that report came out in ESPN, the severity of those allegations was significant. I sat down with Rick [Court] to ascertain what had transpired,” Evans said in the first media appearance since the allegations. “And based upon conversations and looking at everything in totality, I felt it was of the best interest to put him on administrative leave.”

Court led the conditioning workout on May 29 where Jordan McNair fell ill with a heat stroke, before dying two weeks later.

The damning allegations against Court, however, are more so centered on any involvement he had in making the football program in College Park a coaching environment based on fear and intimidation.

Court, who was among D.J. Durkin’s first hires upon being named head coach, was alleged to have thrown small weights in the direction of players, smack a plate of food out of a player’s hands and repeatedly verbally abuse players.

After Evans announced the decision to part ways with Court, the embattled coach released a statement on his twitter account.

“As a coach, it is critical for me to live what I strive to instill in my players, which is to be committed to the welfare of the team and to be a good man on and off of the field,” Court said in the statement.

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports reported that Court and the university reached a settlement that pays him $315,000, two thirds of what he was originally due to earn during the remainder of his contract.

Court also said in his statement that he will continue to cooperate in the University’s investigations, which now include a review of the procedures taken with McNair on May 29 and a probe into the culture of the football program.