Nearly six months into his job as head coach for the Miami Hurricanes, and Manny Diaz is already a legend at UM. His team hasn’t even played a game yet, and people are absolutely in love with him. He has taken a program that was basically left for dead following the 2018 season, and changed the entire culture.
However, the reason why Diaz has been able to make this change at Miami, is because he’s seen what this legendary program is supposed to look like, and how it’s supposed to be run.
Mark Richt on the hire of Manny Diaz: “If I was the AD, he would’ve been the first guy I would have talked to. I think he’s a great fit. I’m really happy for him and for everybody.”— Christy Chirinos (@ChristyChirinos) April 20, 2019
That reason is because Diaz grew up a lot like us. As a kid in South Florida, Manny went to Hurricanes games inside the Orange Bowl, he saw Howard Schnellenberger and Jimmy Johnson on the sideline coaching the way they coached. Like all of us, he saw that this was the way the Canes were supposed to be ran. Yes, Dennis Erickson and Mark Richt did incredible things here, but Howard and Jimmy are held in such high regards because they understood Miami, and they fit the city and program like a glove.
Manny Diaz to Kirk Herbstreit on what #Miami needs to be great again, explains the link to youth football that's embedding in the culture down there & how he'd embraced that spirit w/ his D: "You gotta let the guys go and play the way they have since they were 6 yrs old." #SpotOn— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) January 1, 2019
Coach Diaz clearly understands it. Let’s be real, you weren’t going to see Erickson or Al Golden take their coaching staffs up to Orlando to crash a rivals clinic, but you could see Jimmy doing it.
MANNY DIAZ = .He went up to Orlando to crash Willie Taggert’s coaching clinic. Manny threw a frat-party in a separate room during FSU’s break-out session. Manny’s Response...“This is what we’re trying to bring back to The U, that F-U type of swagger.” #TNM( :@canesinsight) pic.twitter.com/h7bZqcveDY— Canesempire (@canesempire) February 23, 2019
When FSU made a music video prior to the 1988 season bragging about how good they were, Jimmy made it a point to show his team that video. In Diaz’s first team meeting, he had the Hurricanes take their frustrations out on tackling dummies. Attached to those dummies were messages for motivation, one of the messages read “7-6.”
After all, Diaz is the mastermind behind the Turnover Chain, one of the greatest things to happen to college football since the spread offense. Manny didn’t pull that bling out when he was at Texas or Mississippi State, he understood that it would be so much more meaningful with UM and in the city of Miami, and he was right.
That’s why when Diaz created the hashtag and movement #TNM (The New Miami), those who understood him didn’t laugh and call it a silly raw-raw technique. We all, players included, realized that what Diaz was doing made sense, because he gets it.
Diaz’s vision of a New Miami couldn't be done without his experience he had growing up with the Old Miami in the 80’s and early 90’s. That’s why you see former players and coaches coming back, having such enthusiasm for where the program is headed.
I have a really good feeling about #TheU right now! @Coach_MannyDiaz has the team looking ready! And can’t wait for @EdgerrinJames to get his gold jacket! #SurroundedByGreatness pic.twitter.com/rvJpKWuUY4— Calais Campbell (@CalaisCampbell) April 11, 2019
Great time with Manny Diaz and his staff tonight..Best I have felt about the U in a long time! pic.twitter.com/bTb3kek3eG— Jimmy Johnson (@JimmyJohnson) February 13, 2019
Now obviously, Diaz has grasped that 2019 is very different from 1986, and he has to approach coaching in a different style. That’s why his ability to dominate social media since he took the head coaching job has been one of his greatest accomplishments.
While times have changed, that old mentality that existed in the 80’s with Jimmy at the helm, Diaz has brought that back. “You can come to Miami, and for three or four years while you’re at Miami you can compete for championships every year. Or, you can go somewhere else and get your ass kicked by Miami every year you play. And that’s it, and we hide nothing,” Diaz said in a boosters event back in February.
Here’s your daily reminder to be thankful that Manny Diaz is Miami’s coach pic.twitter.com/ytTgOqqRSx— Bring Issiah Walker to Miami (@hurricanesmarsh) June 12, 2019
That’s our head coach, and man, I’m excited as hell. Let’s just kickoff already.