Diaz, the son of former mayor of Miami, Manuel Alberto “Manny” Diaz, returns home to South Florida with 18 years of defensive experience. During his 18-year coaching career, Diaz has coached in 14 bowl games and has coached numerous all-conference and NFL players at six different collegiate institutions.
“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. He and our defensive staff will implement a 4-3 attacking style defense. I’m looking forward to working with Manny. I also want to welcome his wife Stephanie and his boys Colin, Gavin and Manny to Miami.”
Diaz spent the 2015 season at Mississippi State – his second stint in Starkville.
During 2015, Diaz’s defensive unit helped the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record and a victory over North Carolina State in the Belk Bowl. His defensive unit held opponents to just 23.2 point per game and ranked in the nation’s top 10 in redzone defense.
“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.”
In 2014, Diaz spent one season at Louisiana Tech and his impact was felt in a big way, mainly by opposing teams’ offenses. In 2014, Louisiana Tech led the nation in turnovers gained (40) with 15 fumble recoveries and 25 interceptions.
Prior to his stop at Louisiana Tech, Diaz coached three seasons at Texas (2011-13).
In 2010 at Mississippi State, Diaz guided a defense that ranked 22nd in the nation in scoring defense (19.9 ppg), 17th in rushing defense (214.9 ypg) and 17th in tackles for loss (7.0 pg). That was a dramatic turnaround for MSU from the season prior to his arrival. In 2009, the defense finished 71st in scoring defense, 62nd in rushing defense and 89th in tackles for loss. MSU also finished ranked 13th in red-zone defense (.730) and 22nd in turnovers forced (28) nationally in 2010.
Prior to his first stop at Mississippi State, Diaz spent four seasons as defensive coordinator at MTSU. Diaz also coached linebackers for two years after mentoring the safeties during his first two years.
In four years under Diaz, the Middle Tennessee defense led its conference in sacks and tackles for loss twice, and finished no lower than third in the league in either category during his tenure. In 2009, the Blue Raiders finished second nationally in tackles for loss, stopping more than eight and a half plays per game behind the line of scrimmage. Diaz’s defense also ranked sixth nationally in sacks that season, posting nearly three per game.
Before joining Middle Tennessee, Diaz played a major role for one of the country’s top-ranked defenses by coaching safeties in 2004-05 and handling the linebackers in 2002-03 for NC State.
In 2005, the Wolfpack finished eighth nationally in total defense, sixth in third-down percentage, and 12th in scoring defense en route to a 7-5 record and a shutout win over South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.
Diaz spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons at NCSU as a graduate assistant working primarily with the linebackers. During that time, the Wolfpack went to two bowl games and became the first ACC team to beat FSU in Tallahassee.
Diaz began his coaching career at Florida State in 1998, working alongside defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews for two seasons. During his stint, the Seminoles won a national championship in 1999 and were national runners-up in 1998.
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