BTC and MFCA hold a joint meeting at the Terps’ Gusset Football FieldhouseMonday was the first day of spring football practice at the University of Maryland and it took its toll on the voice of new head coach D.J. Durkin.
After a day of using that voice to push, motivate, and “love-up” his new troops, Durkin’s throat was scratchy and giving way, but he battled through the adversity to make a very important first address to a critically important audience that had gathered at the Terp’s gorgeous Gossett Football Field House in the end zone of Capital 1 Field.
“This is our stadium and when I say our stadium, I mean everyone in this room,” Durkin said in welcoming more than 80 Maryland high school football coaches on hand for a joint meeting of the Baltimore Touchdown Club (BTC) and Maryland Football Coaches Association (MFCA). “We want you around. We have open arms in this program and we are here for you.”
Durkin stressed that Maryland football has truly entered a new era with a unified commitment from the school’s administration which includes a new $160 million indoor football training facility on the site of Cole Field House, which has already broken ground.
He also discussed how the University walks hand-in-hand with high school football in the state.
“A lot of people talk about getting more credit for the quality of high school football in their area. There is quality football in Maryland, which is obvious from the players who have come out and where they have gone,” said Durkin. “But the best way to gain recognition and the way it has been done in other states, is for a majority of those players to stay home at their state university and win together on the national stage. That’s when people take notice. That’s when everyone truly understands the high level of football which exists in the area.”
The entire Maryland coaching staff, which had been on campus since 5:30 a.m. preparing for their first practice, was on hand to greet the high school coaches. Each coach took a minute to introduce himself and identify his recruiting territory.
Durkin stressed that his staff will not shy away from the goal of winning in what he believes is the best conference and best division in America. However, he also wanted to impress on the coaches that Maryland is a great place for student-athletes to get a world class education and be prepared for life after football.
“We are 7-8 miles from one of the most powerful cities in the world. We are going to take full advantage of that for our players and help them develop on and off the field with internship opportunities,” said Durkin. “We are committed to their academic success and everyone is held accountable. We hold the key to the motivation which most matters to these young men, playing time. When you tell a kid he is not going to practice or play because he is late for class or missing assignments, suddenly his alarm goes off. We will hold them accountable.”
After Durkin’s address, the regular meeting commenced and there was some news.
MFCA Executive Director Joe Russo revealed that three new members will be elected into the organization’s Hall of Fame - retired Broadneck football coach Jeff Herrick, Fallston football coach Dave Cesky and long time Douglass-PG coach JT Pickney.
Also announced was the Voigt Award for top assistant coaches in the state and it will go to Chuck Oswald of Quince Orchard and Stu Plank at Georgetown Prep. In addition, new MFCA President Joe Bosley also announced that the organization will honor Russo with its Lifetime Achievement Award.
Scott Ripley, senior vice president of the BTC, gave the coaches an update on the Big 33 game and distributed the Team Maryland roster for the game that will be played June 18 in Hersey, Pa. Maryland will be lead by Wise High School head coach Dalawn Parrish, who guided his squad to the Maryland 4A state championship in 2015. Ripley also revealed that Arundel head coach Chuck Markiewicz has been selected to lead the team in 2017.
One other Big 33 note, the 2017 game will likely be moved to Memorial Day weekend to help both Maryland and Pennsylvania keep the majority of their Division 1 recruits in the game. Many players are unable to play on the traditional June date because many college reporting dates have been moved up to earlier in the summer.