Miami hires Manny Diaz to succeed Mark Richt

Manny Diaz has been Miami’s defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)
Manny Diaz has been Miami’s defensive coordinator for the past three seasons. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File)

Miami’s next head coach is a very familiar face who went north for a new job. The Hurricanes will replace the retiring Mark Richt with defensive coordinator Manny Diaz.

Diaz was tabbed to be Miami’s new coach Sunday night. His hire comes days after he was hired by Temple to replace Geoff Collins as the team’s head coach after Collins went to Georgia Tech. But Richt’s sudden retirement Sunday meant Diaz had a change of heart after coaching his final game for Miami in the Pinstripe Bowl against Wisconsin.

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“Miami is home. The University of Miami is home. The U has truly been ‘the job’ for me since I first got into coaching,” Diaz said in a Miami statement on Sunday night. “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 [athletic director Blake James] and his team to make that happen.”

Diaz staying at Miami makes a ton of sense. His father is a former mayor of the city and he’s the man who created the turnover chain that took the college football world by storm in 2017. Miami’s defense forced 31 turnovers in 2017 on the way to a 10-3 season.

It’s just safe to say that Miami wishes it didn’t have to pay Diaz’s $4 million buyout from Temple to keep him around. Had Richt decided to retire a few weeks earlier then the Hurricanes could have saved a ton of cash. But Richt’s decision came after a 35-3 loss to Wisconsin that dropped the Hurricanes to 7-6 in 2018. Miami turned the ball over five times in the loss that clearly made the former Georgia coach and Miami football player contemplate his coaching future.

James told Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel earlier Sunday that he was shocked Richt decided to retire.

“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,” James said in a statement. “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 was the defensive coordinator at Texas from 2011-13, Louisiana Tech in 2014, and Mississippi State in 2015 before he joined the Hurricanes as defensive coordinator in 2016.

His departure from Temple before ever coaching a game with the team means the Owls are on the hunt for another head coach. Collins had been with the school for two seasons after replacing Matt Rhule who left for Baylor after the 2016 season. Rhule replaced Steve Addazio who replaced Al Golden at Temple. Golden took the Miami job before the 2011 season and was fired midway through the 2015 season.

“As excited as I am about staying home, I hate the way this unfolded with respect to Temple,” Diaz said. “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. [Athletic director] Pat Kraft is a phenomenal leader and I know he will hire a great coach to move them forward.”

Temple said Sunday night it was already searching for Diaz’s replacement.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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