July 12, 2024

Auburn is set to pay D.J. Durkin, their new defensive coordinator, a salary of $1.2 million for his debut season with the Tigers, as revealed in his contract obtained by AL.com through a public records request.

Over the span of three years, Durkin’s contract entails potential raises that could escalate his total earnings to $1.6 million by the 2026 season. In 2023, according to the USA Today coaches salary database, Durkin earned $1.6 million while serving at Texas A&M.

The contract features provisions for a complete buy-out if Durkin is terminated, as well as a mitigation clause stating that if he secures a new coaching position during a specified timeframe after leaving Auburn, the compensation from that role offsets the amount owed by Auburn.

DJ Durkin named defensive coordinator at Auburn - Auburn University  Athletics

Should Durkin depart for another coaching position prior to December 20, 2024, he would owe Auburn $500,000. If he were to leave before December 20, 2025, the owed amount reduces to $250,000, and if he departs before Auburn’s final regular season or SEC championship game of the 2026 season, he would owe $125,000. However, no repayment would be required if Durkin were to transition to an FBS head coaching role or any position in the NFL.

His contract aligns with Auburn’s standard bonus structure for assistant coaches. Durkin’s hiring was formally announced by Auburn on January 31, following confirmation from head coach Hugh Freeze during a press conference at the Senior Bowl. Freeze emphasized the compatibility of Durkin and his spouse with the team’s culture, praising Durkin’s passion, energy, and its potential impact on the team’s practice dynamics.

Where Bryan Harsin's 2021 salary, buyout rank nationally, in the SEC -  al.com

Durkin previously served as the head coach at Maryland from 2016 to 2018 but was dismissed following an investigation into the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and the program’s culture. Despite criticisms, an internal investigation at Maryland stopped short of labeling the environment as “toxic.” Since then, Durkin has held defensive coordinator roles at both Ole Miss and Texas A&M within the SEC.

At Auburn, Durkin shares defensive coordinator responsibilities with Charles Kelly and is also responsible for coaching the team’s linebackers.

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