Diaz leaves MSU to join Miami staff

Published 10:35 pm Saturday, January 2, 2016

STARKVILLE – Manny Diaz is on the move again.

Just like in his first stint as Mississippi State’s defensive coordinator, Diaz only lasted one season in Starkville before moving on.

This time, Diaz is returning to his roots in his hometown of Miami, where he will serve as the Hurricanes’ defensive coordinator under new head coach Mark Richt.

“Starkville is a special place, and I could not be more thankful for the opportunity Dan Mullen and Scott Stricklin gave my family and I,” Diaz said. “The Bulldog fans are like no other, and it has been a privilege to be a part of such a great program, university and community. I wish the MSU players, coaches and fans all the best. Their future is bright.

“We knew it would take a very unique opportunity for us to consider leaving. God blessed me with a chance to return home, to coach in my hometown and to reunite with family. It is the kind of opportunity that comes along rarely in this business. It was simply too good to pass up. I can’t wait to help coach Richt build a championship program at Miami.”

Diaz reunites with Richt after previously working together on Bobby Bowden’s staff at Florida State from 1998-99.

“I’m very excited about Manny Diaz becoming our defensive coordinator,” Richt said. “I’ve known him for over 20 years, and I’ve watched him become one of the best defensive minds in the business.”

Diaz guided a Bulldogs’ defense that allowed 391.2 yards and 23.2 points per game this past season. MSU ranked in the top 10 in red zone defense, surrendering only 19 touchdowns in 45 trips inside the 20-yard line.

In addition to his time at Mississippi State in 2010 and 2015, Diaz has also worked at Louisiana Tech (2014), Texas (2011-13), Middle Tennessee State (2006-09) and N.C. State (2000-05).

Diaz’s departure creates the third staff position Mullen must replace. Strength coach Rick Court departed following the Egg Bowl for Maryland, and safeties coach Tony Hughes took the head coaching job at Jackson State last month.

It will be the sixth time Mullen has had to hire a defensive coordinator in his eight seasons at MSU – Diaz (twice), Carl Torbush, Chris Wilson and Geoff Collins.

By Logan Lowery, Daily Journal