Mr. Loh, 72, who became president in 2010, enthusiastically pursued the move to the Big Ten. After the football team struggled during its first two seasons in the conference, in 2014 and 2015, the administration set out to find an outstanding young coach to build a program that could compete with the best teams in the country.
It landed on Mr. Durkin, now 40, who had quickly risen through college football’s coaching ranks. Before his 30th birthday, he had been an assistant at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh. He then worked at Florida under Urban Meyer, the current Ohio State coach, then reunited with Mr. Harbaugh at Michigan, where, as the defensive coordinator, he oversaw one of the country’s best units.
In December 2015, Mr. Durkin signed a five-year, $12.5 million contract with Maryland. His task was not a simple one: to make Maryland competitive after decades of mediocrity and structural disadvantages. He had Mr. Loh’s full support — until the months after Mr. McNair’s death.
When Mr. McNair died in June, Mr. Evans was the interim athletic director; he assumed the job as the permanent athletic director later that month. Mr. Durkin, now in his third full season, is still relatively new in the job. According to the board and the report, those were factors in the decision to allow both men to keep their jobs, Mr. Brady said.
“We believe Coach Durkin has been unfairly blamed,” Mr. Brady said on Tuesday, adding, “We believe he is a good man and a good coach.”
Some local and state politicians were quick to assail the board’s decision.
In a statement, Rushern L. Baker, III, the Prince George’s County Executive, noted that he and Mr. Loh had begun their tenures as top officials around the same time, and said Mr. Loh had “done more to unite the University with the County in his eight years than his predecessors over the preceding decades.”
“Today’s decision by the University System of Maryland Regents was very disappointing,” the statement continued. “It is a shame that they appear to have put the short-term interest of building the university’s football program ahead of continuing the progress of Maryland’s flagship university.”