New Miami Hurricanes Head Coach Manny Diaz Fires Every Offensive Assistant: Report

What to Know

  • The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Diaz has fired every assistant coach on the offensive side of the ball.

Less than one day after being named the latest head coach of the Miami Hurricanes football team, Manny Diaz reportedly wasted no time in making major changes to his staff for the 2019 season.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Diaz has fired every assistant coach on the offensive side of the ball – including quarterbacks coach Jon Richt, the son of former head coach Mark Richt who retired Sunday after three seasons leading his alma mater.

Along with the younger Richt, Diaz let go offensive coordinator and running backs coach Thomas Brown, wide receivers coach Ron Dugans, tight ends coach Todd Hartley and offensive line coach Stacy Searels as well as strength and conditioning coach Gus Felder.

The school has not confirmed any moves within the program.

Diaz spent three seasons as the defensive coordinator with the ‘Canes – making the unit one of the best in college football during that span – before being named the head coach of the Temple Owls earlier this month. However, his tenure with that team lasted less than three weeks as he was hired less than 10 hours after Mark Richt announced his retirement.

Miami will reportedly pay $4 million to Temple as part of Diaz’s contract buyout.

During the 2018 season, the offense struggled for a Miami team who has lost nine of their last 16 games after starting last season 10-0. The Hurricanes ranked 105th in the FBS out of 130 teams in total offense and 113th in passing last season.

The Canes were held to just three points in their blowout loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl last week, leading to calls for Richt to make changes to the coaching staff that including firing his son as well as relinquishing play calling duties.

Richt, who returned to his alma mater after 15 seasons as a head coach at Georgia and 15 before that as a top assistant coach at Florida State, instead stepped down for what he called the “best interest” of the program.

During his first interview after returning to Miami, Diaz said that finding help on offense — from a coordinator to a quarterback and more — is at the top of his list of priorities

"In terms of establishing the identity of what we're going to be on offense and what that vision should be, it's very similar to what we've been on defense," Diaz said on WQAM, the Hurricanes' flagship station. "We came here three years ago and set a vision of how the Miami Hurricanes play defense and what in my mind fits best for the talent that's available to us here in South Florida."

Diaz stayed with the Hurricanes through last week's Pinstripe Bowl. He returned to Miami on Friday and spent the weekend putting together what he thought would be his Temple coaching staff.

But around midday Sunday, Diaz's wife heard the news that Richt stepped down.

Craziness ensued from there.

"It's been wild. There's no other way to explain it," Diaz said in the radio interview. "It's something that when everybody woke up yesterday morning, no one could have predicted. They don't write scripts for these things. If they did they would get thrown in the trash because no one would believe it."

Defense has been the much stronger side of the ball for Miami during Diaz's three years at the school. Under Diaz, Miami has allowed 4.6 yards per play — among all other Football Bowl Subdivision schools, only Alabama (4.2), Clemson (4.4), Michigan (4.4) and Washington (4.55) have allowed less in that three-year span.

The offense hasn't had the same success, and struggled mightily this year. So far this season, with some bowl games left, 73 different quarterbacks have thrown for more yards by themselves than Miami did as a team in 2018. Diaz said returnees N'Kosi Perry and Jarren Williams will have a chance to win the job, but made clear that he's also going to look at transfers.

"If you don't have excellence at that position, it's very hard to compete in this day and age," Diaz said. "We've got some guys on campus who have been in the system and I think this is their time now to turn the page and decide whether they're capable of being the starting quarterback at the University of Miami. But at the same time we've got to create competition because competition is the best coach there is."

Diaz, who will hold a news conference later this week, also told WQAM that he felt badly about how the situation transpired for Temple and spoke again about how thankful he was that the Owls gave him their job.

He also insisted that, with the late part of recruiting season looming and staffing decisions to make, he needs to move on quickly. His first game as coach of the Hurricanes is Aug. 31 against rival Florida.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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