Miami head football coach Manny Diaz fired his entire offensive staff today, plus the strength and conditioning coordinator.
Say what you will about the guy, but he seems like he has the DNA to be an effective college football coach, which means he’s a cold-blooded asshole.
This, of course, took place only a few days after Diaz ditched Temple to claim the Hurricanes’ head coaching gig, a gig vacated by Mark Richt, who retired suddenly on Sunday. Diaz had been in charge of the Owls’ program for a whopping 17 days, signed 17 players to letters of intent, started assembling a staff, then fucked off back to Florida without even a half-apology or a tweet or anything remotely sympathetic to the players who committed to Geoff Collins (who left for Georgia Tech), then re-committed to Diaz, who then left for Miami. And what about a guy like Gabe Infante, who left St. Joe’s Prep for an assistant gig in North Philly?
I wasn’t expecting much from Diaz in the public relations department, and I don’t even blame the guy for leaving. He’s from Miami and the Canes’ job is his dream job, so it is what it is. I’m sure you’d also quit your gig at Sesame Place if Disney World made you a decent offer. Langhorne is great, but it’s no Orlando.
Something about the whole thing kind of bugged me, though. Maybe it was a couple of half-assed non-answers he gave to Rece Davis in an ESPN interview attached to a recent article.
Diaz, on when he was first approached by Miami:
“It all happened really quickly. It was the middle of the day Sunday when I found out that coach Richt retired. That was a shocking pill to swallow; it was out of nowhere. I don’t think anybody expected it. Then it was really a rapid succession of events that, no one could have predicted how it happened and it was able to be turned around quickly and 48 hours later here we are.”
Yeah okay, fine. Davis asked him a follow-up:
What was the most difficult part of making that decision?
“You don’t feel good about it. It’s an issue we have with our calendar because unfortunately job changing season matches with recruiting season, so there’s always this urgency to make these changes happen very quickly. And the changes of course don’t always occur at the same time. It’s hard to do right by everybody but this was ‘the one.’ There’s no other job that could have come open. This is the one scenario that, if it had broken this way – and that’s why, it was remarkable how it happened. I will say this about Temple; they have an outstanding athletic director in Pat Kraft. They’ve got a locker room with a team that’s ready to compete for the (AAC) championship this next year. Whoever gets that next job at Temple is going to win and there’s a lot of great things coming up for the Owls.”
That’s nice, I guess. At least he’s honest. Temple was always a stepping stone type of job anyway, but how about a simple, “you know, I’d just like to apologize to the players and community” kind of line?
We finally got that today at his introductory presser, the second one he’s given in three weeks:
Finally. That should have been the very first thing on his Twitter account Sunday night. He should have called Marc Narducci at the Inquirer and given him a statement. Just get out in front of the whole thing.
I know it’s easy to just roll your eyes and say “who gives a shit about Temple football?”, but think of it this way:
Imagine your son is 18 years old. He committed to Collins, who took a new gig. Manny Diaz steps in and he calls your son. He convinces your son to stay at Temple and remain a part of this program and you’re gonna achieve X, Y, and Z and blah blah blah. Then Diaz pisses off two weeks later and now what? What do you tell your kid? Two adults just peaced out on him and he’s stuck holding the bag.
A lot of people will say that you are committing yourself to a school and a program and NOT a head coach, which is a fair take, but don’t downplay the significance of the latter. If the coach that sought you out and recruited you leaves the program, there’s no guarantee that the next guy in charge will put you on the field or value you the same way the last guy did. That’s why kids transfer. They look for opportunities to better their situation in the same way that coaches do, only they’re forced to sit out a year because of ridiculous NCAA rules that favor flaky adults over powerless “student athletes.”
That’s really a whole separate topic for another column. I’ll leave you with a bit of irony that would make Alanis Morrisette blush:
— Mike Cugno (@MikeCugnoCBS4) December 30, 2018
It’s like rain on your wedding day.
It’s a free ride when you’ve already paid.
It’s like taking the Miami job 17 days after you took the Temple job.
And who would have thought it figures