D. J. Durkin was officially introduced as Michigan’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach today.
|2001-02||Bowling Green||Graduate Assistant|
|2003-04||Notre Dame||Graduate Assistant|
|2005||Bowling Green||Defensive Ends Coach|
|2006||Bowling Green||Linebackers/ST Coordinator|
|2007-09||Stanford||Defensive Ends Coach/ST Coordinator|
|2010-12||Florida||Linebackers Coach/ST Coordinator|
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh announced the first of his assistant coaching appointments on Thursday (Jan. 8), hiring D.J. Durkin as the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Durkin comes to Ann Arbor after spending the past five seasons at the University of Florida (2010-14), including the last two years as the Gators’ defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
“D.J. is one of the top young defensive coordinators in football, and I look forward to having him work with our student-athletes,” said Harbaugh, the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach. “He will make an excellent addition to our staff.”
“Reuniting with Jim at the University of Michigan is an opportunity that I could not pass up,” said Durkin. “We had some great times working together at Stanford, and I look forward to producing great results at Michigan. I look forward to coaching in the Big Ten after growing up in that footprint. I am excited to return to the Midwest and recruit and teach some of the best and brightest young men in the country.”
Durkin, who served as interim head coach for the Gators’ 28-20 victory over East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl on Jan. 3, joined Florida’s coaching staff as special teams coordinator and linebackers coach in 2010 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2013. The Gators’ defense thrived in two seasons under Durkin’s guidance, finishing 15th in total defense (329.8 yards per game) last season and second in the SEC and eighth in the country in total defense (314.2 yards per game) in 2013.
Florida’s 2014 squad finished the regular season fifth in the country in yards allowed per play (4.45), ninth in the nation in yards allowed per rush attempt (3.16) and 10th in the NCAA in yards allowed per pass attempt (5.9). Defensive lineman Dante Fowler Jr. and defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III garnered All-SEC first team accolades, and linebacker Antonio Morrison was an all-conference second team selection.
In Durkin’s first season as defensive coordinator in 2013, the Gators’ proved to be one of the elite units in the nation, ranking among the best in a number of major categories. Florida finished first in the SEC and seventh in the country in pass defense (171. 8 yards per game), sixth in first downs allowed (16.1 per game) and 15th in scoring defense (21.1 points per game) while allowing only 27 touchdowns, the sixth fewest in the nation.
Prior to his tenure in Gainesville, Durkin spent three seasons with Harbaugh at Stanford (2007-09), where he was the Cardinals’ defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator. Under Durkin’s tutelage, Stanford’s defensive ends helped the Cardinal rank 11th nationally in sacks per game in 2007 and 2009.
A native of Youngstown, Ohio, Durkin came to Stanford after serving two seasons on the coaching staff at his alma mater, Bowling Green, where worked with the defensive ends in 2005 before taking over responsibilities with the linebackers and special teams in 2006.
Durkin began his coaching career at Bowling Green, where he was a four-year starter for the Falcons from 1997-2000. Following graduation, he served as a defensive graduate assistant for two seasons (2001-02). In 2001, Bowling Green’s defense ranked first in the Mid-American Conference in total defense as well as four other major categories. Following a two-year stay at Bowling Green, Durkin moved on to Notre Dame, where he assisted the Irish staff in all defensive aspects with concentrated duties on the defensive ends. He worked closely with the program’s all-time sack leader, Justin Tuck, in 2004.
As a player, Durkin was a four-year starting defensive end and outside linebacker at Bowling Green from 1997-2000 and served as one of the team captains for two seasons. He started a total of 33 games in his career and recorded 131 tackles, including 28 for loss. He led the team in sacks in 1998 and finished second in that category in 2000. He also received numerous awards during his playing career, including the Ken Schoeni Award for character and toughness, the Carlos Jackson Award personifying the values of a student-athlete and the Leadership Award.
Durkin earned his bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Bowling Green in 2001 and added a master’s degree in educational administration and supervision in May of 2004. He attended Boardman High School, where he was an all-conference and all-Northeast Ohio selection.
He and his wife, Sarah, have one daughter, Abigail, and one son, Luke.