Diaz Named University of Miami Head Football Coach
CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The University of Miami is proud to announce that Manny Diaz, who has deep roots in the Miami community and catapulted the Hurricane’s defense to elite status during his three years as the team’s defensive coordinator, including a No. 2 national ranking in total defense in 2018, will take the helm as head coach of the Hurricanes’ football team, succeeding Mark Richt, who announced his retirement earlier Sunday.
“Manny is one of the nation’s elite coaches and the Canes’ Family has already embraced him and his incredible work ethic over the past three years,” said UM Director of Athletics Blake James. “He is absolutely the passionate and innovative leader that our program needs, and we will work together to build an incredible staff to move our program back into championship contention.”
Diaz, who has an impressive resume during nearly two decades as a defensive specialist coaching several collegiate programs, has accepted his dream job of leading a Hurricanes’ team he believes is destined to return to the top echelon of collegiate football in the years to come. He had recently been named head coach at Temple University but decided to remain at UM after Richt’s announcement and following a meeting with James.
“Miami is home. The University of Miami is home. The U has truly been ‘the job’ for me since I first got into coaching,” said Diaz. “Having worked here over the past three years, I came to understand what it means to be part of ‘The U’ and came to appreciate the passion and commitment to excellence of all who proudly call themselves Canes. We will restore the football program to its place among the nation’s elite and we will do it with hard work, dedicated coaches, and outstanding student-athletes. I’m excited about working with Blake and his team to make that happen.”
UM President Julio Frenk, who strongly supported the selection of Diaz as head coach, said Richt has done a great job advancing the football program in the right direction during his three-year tenure. He credited the UM alumnus and former Hurricanes quarterback with putting the Miami football program back in the national conversation.
“Not only is Mark Richt an excellent coach and mentor to young men, he is a man of conviction, passionate dedication, and deep faith,” Frenk said. “Mark is a proven winner who was named ACC Coach of the Year in 2017, and also invested personally in our football program by donating $1 million to the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility. I wish Mark, his wife Katharyn, and their children the very best. They will always be a special part of the Hurricanes family.”
James said that over the past three years, Richt and Diaz together have elevated the football program. He sees great things happening in the future with Diaz, who along with his defensive players, created the Turnover Chain that has been emulated by other football programs across the country. James said he is grateful to Temple University for first extending the opportunity to Diaz and for “understanding how important this decision is to Manny and his family.”
Diaz said that “as excited as I am about staying home, I hate the way this unfolded with respect to Temple. I was given a tremendous opportunity to lead the Temple program and I was actively engaged in doing just that when I woke up this morning. I never saw this coming, no one did. I do hope that the Temple players, administration and fans appreciate the uniqueness of this situation and the overwhelming pull to stay home. Pat Kraft is a phenomenal leader and I know he will hire a great coach to move them forward.”
During his 19-year coaching career, Diaz, the son of a former Miami mayor, also named Manny Diaz, has coached in 18 bowl games, amassing a 13-5 record in bowls, and has coached numerous all-conference and NFL players at six collegiate institutions.
In 2015, Diaz’s defensive unit helped Mississippi State to a 9-4 record and a victory over NC State in the Belk Bowl. His defensive unit held opponents to just 23.2 points per game and ranked in the nation’s top 10 in red zone defense and tackles for loss.
Diaz spent one season, 2014, at Louisiana Tech and his impact was felt immediately. The Bulldogs led the nation in turnovers gained with 16 fumble recoveries and 26 interceptions.
Before his stop at Louisiana Tech, Diaz coached three seasons at Texas (2011-13). His 2011 defensive unit ranked ninth in total yards per play.
In 2010, during his first stint at Mississippi State, Diaz guided a defense that ranked 22nd in the nation in scoring defense (19.9 ppg), 17th in rushing defense (214.9 ypg) and 17th in tackles for loss (7.0 pg). MSU also finished ranked 13th in red-zone defense (.730) and 22nd in turnovers forced (28) nationally in 2010.
Before his first stop at Mississippi State, Diaz spent four seasons as defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State. He coached linebackers for two years after mentoring the safeties during his first two years.
In four years under Diaz, MTSU’s defense led its conference in sacks and tackles for loss twice, and finished no lower than third in the league in either category during his tenure. In 2009, the Blue Raiders finished second nationally in tackles for loss. Diaz’s defense also ranked sixth nationally in sacks that season, posting nearly three per game.
Before joining Middle Tennessee, Diaz played a significant role for one of the country’s top-ranked defenses by coaching safeties in 2004-05 and handling the linebackers in 2002-03 for NC State.
Diaz spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons at NCSU as a graduate assistant working primarily with the linebackers. During that time, the Wolfpack went to two bowl games and became the first ACC team to beat Florida State in Tallahassee.
Diaz began his coaching career at Florida State in 1998. In his two years as a graduate assistant, he was on the same coaching staff as Richt and was part of the Seminoles’ national title-winning coaching staff in 1999.
Diaz and his wife, Stephanie, have three sons, Collin, Gavin, and Manny, and live in Palmetto Bay.
“I truly believe our best years are ahead of us, and I am looking forward to working with Manny to bring our football program into the national spotlight,” said James.