The sun was out, skies were clear; the Miami Dolphins were on the verge of losing another NFL game. It was a regular Sunday afternoon in South Florida sports until Mark Richt head football coach of the Miami Hurricanes unexpectedly retired however by Sunday night they had their replacement for Richt. It was their defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz who agreed to become the Temple Owls head coach in early December.
Richt is done; Diaz invented the “Turnover Chain,” build the Hurricanes defense in the last three years, which made it the bright spot of the program. Now, Diaz is the headman in charge to bring “The U,” back to prominence. Here is what the Miami kid shared.
“Miami is home, The University of Miami is home,” Diaz stated. “The U has truly been the job for me since I first got into coaching.”
Miami is required to pay his 4-million buyout to Temple for his services.
“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.”
Let us get into it, beginning with Richt. At 58 years of age, he completed his third and worst season with the Hurricanes at 7-6 overall. Mark Richt added the decision to leave was his and his alone.
Hurricanes athletic director, Blake James did not see the retirement coming.
“This morning Mark Richt called me to inform me he was stepping down immediately, ”James stated.
Richt tenure with the Hurricanes was three years finishing 26-13, a career Head coaching record of 171-64 however his final game as a head coach was one he wishes he could forget, after a 35-3 dismantling at the hands of the Wisconsin Badgers.
Richt’s son Jon Richt was the quarterback coach for the Hurricanes. There was mounting criticism because of his son on the coaching staff, in addition to Richt giving up the offensive play calling instead seeking an offensive coordinator.
Mark was not on the same page to hire a new offensive coordinator; play calling is why he took the Miami job and what he loved as a coach.
The perfect storm was brewing, as Mark was frustrated with the way things were going this season. James came to Richt with the anticipation to change the offense and make it better.
Overall, this was a good development. Richt made the right decision. It was his way or the highway.
The Hurricanes pulled the trigger faster than many expected on making Diaz their next head coach.
Diaz, a Miami native who returned to his hometown college football team as defensive coordinator under Richt in 2016, spent the last three seasons leading that unit. He was named the head coach at Temple on Dec. 13 and signed his first recruiting class with the Owls a couple of days later.
“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 added. “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.”
Before his tenure at Miami, Diaz served as defensive coordinator at Mississippi State (twice), Louisiana Tech, Texas, and Middle Tennessee State. He attended Florida State and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Seminoles in 1998. He has no coaching experience.
In the wake of the announcement, Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft issued a statement expressing his disappointment in Diaz’s sudden decision, while at the same time wishing him well and assuring Owls fans they will bring in the best option for a replacement as quickly as possible.
“This evening, head football coach Manny Diaz called to inform me that he has accepted the head coaching position back at the University of Miami,” Kraft said. “We are disappointed in his decision, but wish him well as he returns home.
Miami needed someone similar with the roster and local recruits. Moreover, Diaz has done a great job with the defense the last three years. Diaz’s defense ranked second in total defense (268.3 yards per game) and first in passing defense (140.8 YPG).
The Hurricanes needed someone with the energy, the vigor to get the historic program back on track. Richt was at the tail end of his career. In naming Diaz its new head coach, Miami is required to pay his $4 million buyout to Temple for his services. The innovator of the “Turnover Chain” that swept the college football landscape during the 2017 season is worth every penny. “The U,” will recover.