One of the biggest coaching free agents on the market has found a home, as former Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State and Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has accepted a similar position at Louisiana Tech, sources confirmed to FootballScoop on Tuesday afternoon.
The move has to be seen as a complete and total win for Skip Holtz as he heads into year two in Ruston following a 4-8 debut campaign. Following former coordinator Kim Dameron's departure for the Eastern Illinois head coaching job, Louisiana Tech just nabbed a 39-year-old recruiting dynamo with eight years of defensive coordinator position, four of those at BCS schools, throughout the South. This is a two-strike, two-out grand slam for Holtz and company.
Diaz helped Mississippi State jump 50 spots nationally - from 71st to 21st - in scoring defense during his one year in Starkville. That year coincided with a 9-4 finish for the Bulldogs, following a 5-7 mark in 2009, and still represents the high water mark of Dan Mullen's five-year tenure as Mississippi State head coach. Diaz left for Texas before the 2011 season and experienced immediate success. The Longhorns finished 11th nationally in total defense, ninth in yards per play, seventh in rushing defense, 11th in yards per carry allowed, 10th in pass efficiency defense and ninth in yards per attempt allowed.
Diaz's defense helped Texas improve from 5-7 in 2010 to 8-5 in 2011, and then again to 9-4 in 2012.
Louisiana Tech finished the 2013 season placed 70th in total defense, 42nd in yards per play, 61st in scoring defense, 30th in pass efficiency defense and 92nd in rushing defense.