Manny Diaz was announced as Temple’s new head coach on Dec. 13 after a successful run as Miami’s defensive coordinator under Mark Richt.
Shortly thereafter, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Diaz “contacted every recruit who made a commitment to the Owls, hoping to have as many stay the course as possible.”
Following that Herculean act of recruiting, Diaz heard the news that Richt was unexpectedly retiring as head coach of the Hurricanes.
And with that, on Sunday, Diaz took his talents back to South Beach, as the Miami program announced that Diaz will be their new head coach.
Miami athletic director Blake James spoke like a man who probably would have promoted Diaz had he not accepted the Temple job in the first place.
“Manny is one of the nation’s elite coaches and the Canes’ Family has already embraced him and his incredible work ethic over the past three years,” James said in a statement. “He is absolutely the passionate and innovative leader that our program needs, and we will work together to build an incredible staff to move our program back into championship contention.”
And Diaz, for his part, clearly showed that he left his heart in Miami even though he’d jetted up to Philadelphia.
“Miami is home,” he said. “The University of Miami is home. The U has truly been ‘the job’ for me since I first got into coaching. Having worked here over the past three years, I came to understand what it means to be part of ‘The U’ and came to appreciate the passion and commitment to excellence of all who proudly call themselves Canes. We will restore the football program to its place among the nation’s elite and we will do it with hard work, dedicated coaches, and outstanding student-athletes. I’m excited about working with Blake and his team to make that happen.”
— Manny Diaz (@Coach_MannyDiaz) December 31, 2018
Don’t feel too bad for Temple, though. Miami sent over a $4 million buyout that will go a long way toward the Owls finding the head coach they can build the future of the program around.
And there didn’t seem to be any hard feelings on Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft’s part.
A statement from our Director of Athletics, Dr. Patrick Kraft. pic.twitter.com/HcBUQJLNk0
— Temple Owls (@TempleOwls) December 31, 2018
“This evening, Head Football Coach Manny Diaz called to inform me that he has accepted the head coaching position back at the University of Miami,” Kraft said. “We are disappointed that he’s leaving, but wish him the best as he returns home.
“We have already launched a national search for a new head football coach and I am confident that we will bring yet another outstanding head coach to North Broad Street. Our student-athletes deserve excellence and stability and we are searching for the coach who can deliver on both. We are moving forward the only way we know how: Temple Tough.”
Diaz offered an apology for what amounted to accepting a “Godfather” offer from the school where he wanted to be head coach all along.
“I hate the way this unfolded with respect to Temple,” Diaz said in a statement. “I was given a tremendous opportunity to lead the Temple program and I was actively engaged in doing just that when I woke up this morning. I never saw this coming, no one did. I do hope that the Temple players, administration and fans appreciate the uniqueness of this situation and the overwhelming pull to stay home. Pat Kraft is a phenomenal leader and I know he will hire a great coach to move them forward.”
Temple went 7-1 in the American Athletic Conference, its lone conference loss coming at the hands of undefeated Central Florida, and went 8-5 overall, getting pantsed by Duke 56-27 in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 27.
The last time the Owls played Miami was in 2005, and it’s unlikely these teams will face each other again under Diaz’s watch, so Temple fans will be denied their hope of getting any kind of we-did-fine-without-you satisfaction on the field; if they did try for that kind of revenge, Miami is 13-1 all-time against Temple, and the loss came in 1930.
All the same, Diaz got his dream job, Temple will get a new head coach and just got $4 million for little more than a couple of weeks’ worth of having their time wasted, and the Owls will make another good run at trying to dethrone Central Florida atop their conference.
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