Diaz To Middle Tennessee State

Pack Pride has learned that NC State safeties coach Manny Diaz has accepted an offer to become the defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State.

"The big thing is it's a great opportunity for me to take a lot of the things I've done here and use them at a place that is starting over," Diaz told Pack Pride. "I think we can do well in that league."

Middle Tennessee State recently hired long-time Clemson assistant and former South Carolina assistant Rick Stockstill as head coach. Diaz spoke highly of the new Blue Raider head coach.

"He was at Clemson a long time, and he's a great guy," said Diaz. "He seems like a real good guy to work for. I think he's got a real good personality to be a head coach. He's always been known as a top-notch recruiter. I think we can get some good players to go there."

Diaz leaves NC State with plenty of talent at the safety position. Returning rover Garland Heath is coming off an All-ACC junior season and Miguel Scott and DaJuan Morgan are considered future standouts. Even true freshman J.C. Neal showed promise when given the opportunity.

"That is the worst part, the people you leave behind, especially because that position went from being an unknown to hopefully being a strength of the defense in the years to come," Diaz said. "I'm definitely encouraged about the future of the defense. That has been a big part of our success, the quality depth in the secondary."

The Wolfpack assistant accompanied Chuck Amato to Raleigh from Florida State in 2000, and admitted that he owes a lot to the Wolfpack head coach.

"Just about everything I have Chuck is responsible for," said Diaz. "I came here a week after Chuck was hired and with all the differences, the growing pains, we've been through it all.

"With finishing the season the way we did, I can leave feeling proud. It's just time to better myself. You have to show people you're serious about [coaching]. If that means moving out of your comfort zone, you have to do it. It's a hard business to expect to be at one place forever and then get to where you want to be in the end."

Diaz arrived at NC State with Chuck Amato in 2000, and he served as a graduate assistant for two seasons. In 2002, he was was named linebackers coach and handled the position for two seasons before becoming the safeties coach and special teams coordinator in 2004.

During his tenure Diaz developed several All-ACC players including: linebacker Dantonio Burnette (2002, first-team), linebacker Pat Thomas (2003, second-team), safety Andre Maddox (2004, honorable mention), athlete Darrell Blackman (2005, second-team special teams), and safety Garland Heath (2005, honorable mention).

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