Head Coach, Miami Hurricanes Football
Miami native Manny Diaz (son of the eponymous former Miami mayor) began his coaching career in 1988 at Florida State University, as a graduate assistant to Defensive Coordinator Mickey Andrews. He became a full-time coach at NC State in 2002 as a linebackers coach. After he left NC State in 2005, he went on to coach at Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State, Texas and Louisiana Tech as a safeties coach, linebackers coach and defensive coordinator. He came to Miami in 2016 as the Canes’ defensive coordinator, transforming the defense into a playmaking machine (he created the morale-building Turnover Chain). By 2018, his defense besting the top national teams (Alabama, Clemson, Michigan) in everything from defensive points scored and least yards given up, to third downs denied and turnovers gained.
On Dec. 13, Diaz accepted a position at Temple University as head coach of their football program. However, after Miami’s head coach, Mark Richt, unexpectedly retired, the position was offered to Diaz. On Dec. 30, Diaz was announced as head coach at the University of Miami.
WHAT HE SAYS
When Richt released his statement announcing his retirement, Diaz was announced as head coach by the end of the day. “When you have an opportunity like this, you have to jump on it,” Diaz says. Three things went through the new head coach’s mind when offered the position: worrying about Richt, his former mentor; having to disappoint Philadelphia’s Temple University; and then grasping the reality of the situation. “If it was something someone would have told my 12-year-old self, I don’t know if I would have ever thought it possible,” he says. Diaz is committed to making the 2019 roster top notch with both current players and recruits. “We have to find out how good our football team can be,” he says. “The best coach there is, is competition – to make everybody reach their highest level.” Choosing a quarterback will be a “major point of emphasis in spring practice.”
– Lizzie Wilcox