Alan Diaz/Associated Press
“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,” Miami athletic director Blake James said in the school’s official press release. “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 had already reached an agreement earlier this month to become the Temple Owls’ head coach. The school made a formal announcement on its official site Dec. 13. According to Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, Diaz had a $4 million buyout in his Temple contract.
Miami is an obvious upgrade over Temple, and The Athletic’s Chris Vannini listed the other factors at play pulling him to South Florida:
Chris Vannini @ChrisVannini
This sucks for Temple, but Miami is the absolute dream job for Manny Diaz. He’s from there, his dad is the former mayor, it just makes sense.
Still, many on social media made light of Diaz’s brief tenure with the Owls:
Adam Kramer @KegsnEggs
Let’s look back at some of the greatest moments of the Manny Diaz era at Temple:
Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell
Manny Diaz spent less time working in Philadelphia than Frank Gore. https://t.co/TJz5GE7nSu
Tom Fornelli @TomFornelli
How many years does Manny Diaz have to sit out before he regains eligibility?
His deal with Temple made things a little more difficult than Miami would have liked, but Diaz was the most obvious choice to replace Richt.
Diaz took over as Miami’s defensive coordinator in 2016 shortly after the school hired Richt. He quickly made a big impact on the Hurricanes. According to Football Outsiders, Miami ranked 13th, 22nd and seventh in S&P+ defense, and the team’s turnover chain became a nationwide sensation, leading to numerous copycats at other schools.
Beyond just his coaching resume and work with the Hurricanes, Diaz’s connection to the region should help Miami attract the best prep players in the state of Florida.
According to 247Sports’ composite team rankings, the Hurricanes are on pace to have the 33rd-best recruiting class in 2019, down from eighth in 2018. The early signing period has already passed, but Diaz still has some time to add to the team’s incoming group for next season.
Leading passer N’Kosi Perry is only a redshirt freshman and running back DeeJay Dallas should return. Sack leader Joe Jackson is a junior but could test the NFL waters, while three of the team’s top six tacklers (Shaquille Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Jonathan Garvin) have at least a season of eligibility remaining.
The pieces are there for Diaz to lay a solid foundation in 2019.