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Miami Hurricanes

After leaving for Temple, Manny Diaz returns as Hurricanes head coach

Matt Zemek

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Our story begins with a simple fact of life: Human beings can and will change their minds.

Joe Paterno was going to be the head coach of the New England Patriots in 1973, but after verbally accepting the job, he thought about the matter before putting pen to paper to ink his contract and decided to stay at Penn State.

It doesn’t happen every day, but coaches throughout the decades have occasionally changed their minds in football and basketball.

Bill Belichick was head coach of the New York Jets for one day before moving to the New England Patriots.

Bobby Cremins went to South Carolina basketball, but then decided to go back to Georgia Tech. Dana Altman did the same basic thing, hopping to Arkansas but then thinking about the matter and going back to Creighton. Very recently, Chris Beard accepted the open job at UNLV basketball, but then watched the Texas Tech job come open when Tubby Smith left for Memphis. Beard went to Lubbock.

Other coaches don’t necessarily change their minds, but they leave really good jobs after one year to pursue the job they REALLY wanted. Think of Lane Kiffin going to USC after just one season at Tennessee. Think of Willie Taggart leaving Oregon after just one season to go to Florida State.

When people change their minds, they can — and do, and will — change their minds in ways which go beyond accepting or rejecting jobs.

They also choose to retire. That’s what Mark Richt did.

Let’s be clear: Richt is regarded as one of the stand-up men in college football. Surely, Richt would have told Manny Diaz he was planning to retire if he truly thought he was. Richt’s decision to retire on Sunday came as a change of heart, perhaps in response to demands placed upon him, perhaps due to a reconsideration of the task ahead after the humiliating Pinstripe Bowl loss to Wisconsin.

Richt would not have allowed Diaz to leave if he privately knew it was time to call it a career at age 58. He would have allowed Diaz to succeed him and create a seamless transition for the 44-year-old who is a natural fit in Miami as a recruiter and a coach fans can get excited about.

Richt, by all appearances, changed his mind. People inside the program were caught off guard by his Sunday morning decision.

People change their minds. Why couldn’t Diaz change his mind and leave Temple? It is no great sin. It is no sin at all, as a matter of fact. What this and similar episodes reveal — and magnify — about the world of collegiate athletics is that if coaches should have this level of freedom of movement, athletes should have the very same, and nothing less. Coaches shouldn’t be barred from going where their hearts lead them. Neither should players. Rather than insisting on double prohibitions, college sports should focus on double allowances.

And so, Manny Diaz comes home after briefly being Temple’s head coach. For all intents and purposes, he never really left, since he did coach the Canes as defensive coordinator in the Pinstripe Bowl.

The school confirmed the re-hire Sunday night:

Say this much about Diaz: He has paid his dues.

He was a position coach for a number of years, and then in 2006, he began his career as a defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee. Since then, he has been a defensive coordinator at Mississippi State (in two separate stints), Texas under Mack Brown, and Louisiana Tech, before coming to Miami under Richt. His experience is extensive, and having worked under both Brown and Richt, he has seen how highly accomplished head coaches work. While it is true that he has never coached an FBS game as a head coach before, Diaz is not taking a job at age 34 or 35. Kliff Kingsbury and Lane Kiffin took head coaching jobs at or near those ages, and they failed badly. Those men needed more seasoning. Diaz does not.

For Diaz, the challenge will be to hire a strong offensive coordinator. Diaz knows the defensive side of the ball, but as we so often see in the world of collegiate head coaching, a head coach with expertise in one facet of football often neglects the other side of the ball and sinks his career or his tenure at a school.

Will Muschamp simply can’t develop offensive skill-position talent, and he is in huge trouble at South Carolina — not in terms of losing his job, but in terms of being able to accomplish much of anything with the Gamecocks. Dana Holgorsen knows how to coach offense, but his defenses at West Virginia simply could not solve Oklahoma’s offense in the Big 12, and that’s why his program never turned the corner. California had a defense good enough to win the Pac-12 this season, but the offense was absolutely atrocious under defense-first head coach Justin Wilcox, who — like Diaz — spent many seasons as a defensive coordinator before taking a Power Five head coaching job.

Diaz must overcome this “half a loaf” problem in which his side of the ball does all the work but the offense languishes. That’s what can prevent his Miami head coaching tenure from being a success. He must nail his coordinator hire.

If he has to change his mind, so be it… as long as it ends up well. That is basically the story of Diaz’s unusual but hardly unprecedented path to a head coaching position after many years of waiting for his big chance.

Matt Zemek is the co-editor of Tennis With An Accent with Saqib Ali. Matt is the lead writer for the site and helps Saqib with the TWAA podcast, produced by Radio Influence at radioinfluence.com. Matt has written professionally about men's and women's tennis since 2014 for multiple outlets: Comeback Media, FanRagSports, and independently at Patreon, where he maintains a tennis site. You can reach Matt by e-mail: mzemek@hotmail.com. You can find him on Twitter at @mzemek.

Miami Hurricanes

Former Canes coach Golden apparently ready for trial against school

Florida Football Insiders

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USA Today Sports

Former Miami Hurricanes head coach Al Golden is apparently about to have his day in court, while trying to recoup what he says is multi-millions of dollars that the University still owes him from firing him 5 years ago.

Miami Herald writer and columnist Barry Jackson had more on Monday evening that there apparently will not be a settlement by the school with the man that coached them for parts of five seasons in the 2010s.

Golden is seeking in excess of $3 million for what he says is compensation per his contract that he was owed when Miami terminated him in October of 2015 after a humiliating 58 – 0 lost to Clemson. The University says that Golden has been paid what the contract required.

As Jackson reported, there have already been depositions on both sides, including with Miami athletic director Blake James. And both James and Golden will be testifying in the civil suit about what went wrong and how it has not been rectified for almost three years, since the dispute started.

Golden came to Miami after having turned around the Temple football program, but only went 32 – 25 in his four plus seasons. He contends in a chain of emails that were obtained by the media recently, that the University mislead him about the Nevin Shapiro payment scandal and the punishments that Miami was going to receive for scholarship losses and a bowl ban.

He further contends that he asked for tough opponents like Wisconsin and Michigan State to be pushed back on the Canes schedule early in his tenure, while they were in the middle of the sanctions. However, that  James would not relent, thereby, making it much tougher for Miami to compete and win.

The University has had no comment on the possible suit going to trial. Golden’s lawyer told the media recently that they are anxious to have their day in front of a judge and jury.

Golden has been a position coach in the NFL with the Detroit Lions the last two years. Meanwhile, Miami is still trying to find their footing with coach Manny Diaz coming off a dismal 6-7 season where they lost their last three games. That included a humiliating 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.

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Miami Hurricanes

Hurricanes name College Hall of Famer Ed Reed Chief of Staff

Florida Football Insiders

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Hurricanes are hoping to reestablish their winning ways, and coach Manny Diaz is starting 2020 by reaching back to a prominent member of their recent past to help them.

Diaz and the school announced Thursday afternoon that former All-American, National Champion and College and NFL Hall of Fame safety, Ed Reed, will be coming aboard as a newly-created “Chief of Staff” position for Hurricanes football:

As the school’s release said, Reed “will be responsible in advisory role of all aspects of the football program including strategic planning, quality control, operations, player evaluation and player Development among other duties.

Diaz said in the statement,

“We are thrilled to welcome Ed back to Coral Gables,” Diaz said. “He is not only one of the most decorated players in Miami football history but also a devoted Cane who cares deeply about this program. All of our players, coaches and staff will be fortunate to tap into his experience, knowledge and passion on a regular basis.”  

This hire comes on the heels of Miami apparently botching the hiring in a similar role of former star RB  from the 80’s Alonzo Highsmith earlier this month. Highsmith negotiated with Diaz and AD Blake James about looking to come back to Coral Gables after having been in a similar role with the Cleveland Browns in the NFL this past year. Alas, they could not agree. Highsmith has since been fired after the Browns fired GM John Dorsey and shook up their front office.

As for the “Chief of Staff” position, numerous college programs, including Clemson Alabama and Georgia have a similar positions to aid and assist the head coach with the day-to-day administration of program.

You cannot find a more decorated Cane willing to help, as Reed was arguably the best safety in college football in the 2000s. Miami posted a 23 – 1 record over his final two seasons (’00-’01) and he was part of the 2001 BCS Championship team that finished 11-1 and destroyed Nebraska in the Rose Bowl.

Reed with a consensus First-team All-American in 2000 and 2001 and set the Hurricanes record for interceptions with 21 before leaving Coral Gables.

Reed was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 for his accomplishments.

Reed was later a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2002, playing at 11 sasons with them before playing his final year with the Texans and the Jets. He is a former NFL Defensive Player of the Year and was an All-Pro six times. Reed was just inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame year ago.

Read was not quoted in the release by the Hurricanes on Thursday afternoon.

However, he did participate earlier during Super Bowl week in Miami with former Hurricanes legendary coach Jimmy Johnson in a special program from Fox Sports with other famous Hurricane alumni like Michael Irvin.

The program called “The ReUnion” dealt with Miami trying to regain the winning ways and dominance of the 80s and 90s.

Miami stumbled to a 6-6 finish and then was embarrassed to end Diaz’s first season with a 14-0 shutout loss to Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl.

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