On December 12, news broke that Temple would hire Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to be its next head coach.
On December 30, Miami head coach Mark Richt retired suddenly. That same night, the school announced Diaz would return to replace his former boss.
SB Nation’s Steven Godfrey reports that the two finalists Diaz beat out initially at Temple were Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko and Michigan DC Don Brown.
Thus ends a memorable era for Diaz at Temple.
Diaz’s 18 days at Temple coincided with him continuing to coach Miami’s defense, at least in some capacity through the Pinstripe Bowl on December 27. (He was present at that game, a loss to Wisconsin.) He was solely Temple’s head coach for about three days. The Owls had been playing under a super passionate interim head coach, Ed Foley.
Still, Diaz never lost a game at Temple. He’s leaving the program in roughly the same shape he found it, as the Owls were already a little bit late in the coaching cycle when they hired him the first time. They hired Diaz because their head coach of two years, Geoff Collins, had left to take the head job at Georgia Tech. Also, they’ll get some money out of it:
Source: Temple coach Manny Diaz is being strongly considered as next coach at Miami. He spoke to UM officials today. Buyout is significant at $4 million, but UM officials know they’d be getting a top defense and strong local ties. https://t.co/NjPiQF1QVl
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) December 31, 2018
Wikipedia has already been updated to reflect this news:
Diaz becomes the fifth consecutive assistant coach to take the Temple job and then leave for a Power 5 head gig.
- Al Golden left for Miami after five years. (Yes, Diaz is technically the second Temple head coach Miami has hired away in the last decade.)
- Steve Addazio left for Boston College after two years.
- Matt Rhule left for Baylor after four years.
- Collins left for Georgia Tech after two years.
- Diaz left for Miami, his hometown, after zero years (rounded).
Miami has some significant problems to tackle, but Diaz seems like a great hire, because he’s been responsible for Miami’s best thing.
Their biggest problem is offense, where they haven’t found an answer at quarterback and, flowing from that, haven’t been able to turn some top-end talent at running back and receiver into great results. They were 36th in Offensive S&P+ in 2017 and 67th this year.
The Canes’ saving grace has been Diaz’s defense, which gave the world the Turnover Chain during ‘17’s breakout and got even better as a unit this year. Miami is No. 7 in Defensive S&P+, and without that elite defense, a 7-5 year easily could’ve been a 5-7 year. (Wins against Florida State and Pitt, when UM scored 28 and 24, are the easiest flips to imagine.)
Diaz fit in seamlessly at The U. He took a passive defense and got back to the basics of Miami football: fast and aggressive. His defenses have routinely been among the nation’s best at creating havoc and TFLs. Furthermore, Diaz was the mastermind behind Miami’s iconic Turnover Chain, which has been imitated by countless groups both in and out of sports.
Miami’s offense is terrible. The special teams are terrible. Their signing class for 2019 currently has fewer actual signees than decommits. But Diaz has done great work.