Miami AD Blake James said at his press conference Sunday that he intended to move quickly to find Mark Richt's successor, and one target from Richt's own staff has already emerged. Sources told FootballScoop on Sunday night that Manny Diaz is indeed under consideration to become the next Miami head coach.
The pursuit of Diaz is both simple and complicated at the same time. The Hurricanes' defensive coordinator for the past three seasons, Diaz would be able to move up a chair and provide the least amount of disruption for the program. However, he is currently the head coach at Temple, agreeing to become the Owls' next head coach on Dec. 12. Prying Diaz out of Philadelphia would be difficult for a number of reasons:
- While it's unclear if Diaz has signed his full contract at Temple, certainly by this point he's signed a Memorandum of Understanding (theoretically obligating him to the standard buyout language any coach agrees to when he takes a new job). What are those figures and is Miami willing and able to meet them? Certainly Temple is under no obligation to do Miami any favors here; but would they?
- There is also a major public-relations aspect at play. Seventeen players signed letters of intent earlier this month with the understanding Diaz would be their coach. How do Diaz and Miami handle that?
Despite all that, his qualifications for the job are obvious. As Miami saw its preseason No. 8 ranking slump to a 7-6 finish, Diaz's defense remained elite, finishing the year fifth in total defense, third in yards per play allowed and second in passing efficiency.
Diaz is also a Miami native whose father of the same name was once mayor of the city.
The Miami Herald reported earlier Sunday that Diaz was at Miami's football facility before James held his press conference.
"Manny Diaz? I haven’t any comment on Manny," James said later. "I guess Manny is on his own schedule."
Other candidates could emerge throughout the process and the search is expected to move quickly; but this one could be over before it even gets started. Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.