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FIU’s List of Potential Coaching Candidates: Manny Diaz

FIU had success in hiring a Miami native before so why not try again with Diaz, the successful defensive coordinator at Miami.

NCAA Football: Belk Bowl-North Carolina State vs Mississippi State Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Career Path: At 42 years old, Many Diaz has almost spent half of his life coaching defense as he has 18 years of experience on that side of the ball. He had 2 different stints as Middle Tennessee’s defensive coordinator (06-07 & 08-09). Diaz was Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator the next year and then held the same position at Texas from 2011-2013. After an unsuccessful tenure in Austin in which he was fired, Diaz wound up at Louisiana Tech and bounced back in a major way as his defense led the nation in turnovers. Mississippi State brought him back after his successful season in Ruston. But after a season in Starkville, he came back home to join Mark Richt’s staff in Miami to be their defensive coordinator.

Buzz Surrounding The Hire: Diaz is a very well-known name in the college football world. His stops at Texas, Mississippi State, and Miami shows how sought after he’s been as a defensive coordinator so there will be some eyebrows raised if FIU is to hire him. But the majority of the good-vibes is going to come locally as Diaz is the son of former Miami mayor Manuel Alberto “Manny” Diaz. Miami has a ton of ties to the Cuban community as well, so Diaz’s Cuban descent will also make locals happy to see one of their own as a head coach of a Miami team.

What’s There To Like: Diaz’s ties to the Miami community are great and all, but what he brings to the football field is why FIU should see if he’s interested. Aside from his tenure at Texas, all of his defense’s have been successful. At Middle Tennessee his defense led the Sun Belt in sacks and tackles for loss, at Mississippi State in 2010 his defense allowed 19.9 points per game, in 2015 they allowed 23.2 points per game. So far this year the Hurricanes have allowed 12.6 points per game under his watch. In a conference known for offense, FIU would be the only Conference USA team that’s defense first and with the athletes in Florida it could be very beneficial for FIU.

Why They Should Proceed With Caution: Diaz has spent zero years coaching offense at the collegiate level. Even as a graduate assistant at Florida State Diaz mainly spent his time with legendary defensive coordinator Micky Andrews. Not many head coaching jobs go to defensive coordinators and you can look at Will Muschamp’s tenure at Florida as the reason why. Not saying Diaz wouldn’t be able to figure things out on that side of the ball, but his offensive coordinator would probably be a major factor in determining if he would be successful as an head coach.

Why He Would Take The Job: Diaz is a Miami native and for all we know he could be very content in being the DC in the biggest school in his hometown. But Diaz has never been offered a head coaching position before and being a head coach in his hometown should be more desirable than his current position. He’s young so he could hold out for a better gig, especially if he can be one of the faces that brings back “The U” but I don’t see him turning down this job if offered. You don’t get many opportunities to be a head coach when you make your name as a defensive coordinator.

Analysis: To me Many Diaz would be the most ideal hire for FIU. His ties to the city would be a big draw for locals to pay attention to FIU, his defenses have been great pretty much everywhere he has been, and he is a young coaching prospect who would be hungry to make a name for himself as a head coach. FIU went this direction in 2006 when they hired Mario Cristobal and it worked pretty well. Who he would bring with him to work on the offense would be something to watch for, but out of the potential candidates for the job, Manny Diaz should be one of the first names called for the job. On a scale of 1-10 this hire would be a 9.


Butch Davis

Larry Scott