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Miami Hurricanes

“Dream” Hurricanes job already too big for Manny Diaz?

Matt Zemek

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe he should have stayed at Temple. This doesn’t mean Manny Diaz won’t work out as the Miami Hurricanes’ next coach, but it does mean that his career might have been better served by taking a less pressure-packed head coaching job to familiarize himself with the workings of the industry before taking over the Canes.

I am reminded of Luke Walton taking the Los Angeles Laker job – his dream job – at a very early age, when all the pieces were NOT lined up for him to succeed in that position.

Think about it: If a given coaching job is your dream job, do you want to take it at a very early point in your career, when the stars aren’t aligned and failure is more possible, thereby meaning that your dream job is likely to never lift your career to a championship-level height?

If you love a specific coaching job so much, wouldn’t you want to take that job at a point when you know you can make it work, when you KNOW you can put everything in order and do a job exactly the way you intended?

Walton loved being coach of the Lakers so much that he took the job right away. We all saw what happened. Walton did not last very long at his dream job. He didn’t win anything at his dream job.

He is now in Sacramento.

Walton wasn’t wrong to WANT to be coach of the Lakers, the job he dreamed of having. He was wrong to TAKE the job at a point when being Laker coach was extremely hard, an uphill battle in a dysfunctional situation.

Can we say the same for Manny Diaz? I think so.

He has roots and connections in Miami. The place is a spiritual and cultural home. Of course this was the place Manny Diaz was meant to coach. No one disputes this.

However: Was this the right time to take the job? He could have gone to Temple for two or three seasons and learned how to be a head coach. Yes, it is fair to point out that Diaz saw Mack Brown, Dan Mullen, and Mark Richt – three good to great head coaches – ply their trade up close and personal for several years.

I won’t engage in revisionist history and say Diaz hadn’t paid enough dues before coming to Miami as the head coach of the Canes. He paid his dues

I did, however, wonder if Diaz was ready to apply the various lessons he had hopefully learned.

Well… the early read in Year 1 is that he hasn’t.

It isn’t even close… not after listening to Diaz on the Miami-based Joe Rose Show from Monday.

The first question Joe Rose asked Diaz elicited this response right out of the gate:

“We’re four plays away from being 7-0,” Diaz said.

Oh no.

Oh God, no.

Please, no.

He WENT there?

Yup – he went there.

He really did. Right away. Directly. Immediately.

You never play that rhetorical card. You never tell your players or fan base that repeated failures are somehow acceptable or a sign of hope.

Let’s be clear here: One loss marred by an improbable play or a terrible call can be the subject of legitimate what-ifs or maybes or postgame litigation. What Diaz is guilty of, and what many coaches before him are also guilty of, is saying that a season full of highly flawed performances is very nearly a great season.

You don’t do that in general. You DEFINITELY don’t do that at a program of stature, a program where winning at a high level is expected.

At Georgia or USC or Michigan, or several similar programs, you don’t say the sun is shining or that prosperity is just around the corner when there’s a tornado a mile away and the sky is a very deep black. Fans don’t like losing, but they don’t like being sold a bill of goods even more.

No one can look at this Miami season and credibly say that the Canes are very nearly a great team enjoying a great season. Sure, they have played a number of close games which could have gone the other way, but they have played those close games – and lost them – against mostly bad teams.

Not Florida, no, but certainly North Carolina and Georgia Tech, and realistically Virginia Tech as well: Miami was a double-digit home favorite in that game.

Imagine if the ACC was any good. Imagine if Virginia Tech was 2016-level Virginia Tech, or 2008-level Virginia Tech.

Imagine if North Carolina was as good as the 2015 team which won 11 regular-season games.

Imagine if Georgia Tech was as good as any of the Paul Johnson teams which made the Orange Bowl game or at least won the ACC Coastal title.

Miami would not have been playing close games this year… because it would have been smoked.

Manny Diaz might learn a lot from Year 1 and come roaring back in Year 2, but by using the “few plays away from being 7-0” card, he shows he isn’t learning a whole lot right now.

Spending two years of coaching graduate school at Temple might have been useful… but we don’t live in that world.

A dream job could still have a happy ending for Diaz, but the start to this job has been a nightmare.

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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