Itttttttttttttttttttt’s Monday, meaning it’s time to slap on the slicker and go splashing through the orange and green pools of thought in my mind.......
1) Not to brag (REALLY about to brag), but I finished the regular season picks pieces with a record of 52-38-1 against the spread. A lot better than last year, and a good vibe going into the postseason.
2) Other schools keep on making moves...and Miami, with the highest athletic position at the school unfilled, doesn’t. Tick. Tock. When I was writing this piece the last time, the news came out about Blake James being fired, so maybe something will come up here in a few minutes. If not, I really do hope that the UM administration hires either Alonzo Highsmith (who will hopefully bring in an assistant AD capable of overseeing the other sports/non-revenue sports), or Tom Jurich. They’re night-and-day different, but both have their positives.
3) As far as Highsmith, the man can evaluate football personnel as well as anyone. He’s very, very good at it, as evidenced by his time and successes with the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns. The Packers’ success has spoken for itself, while the Browns complete turnaround took shape on his watch. Turn around the Browns? You could turn around the Canes five times over if you can accomplish that. Yeah, one’s the NFL, one is college. Don’t care one damned bit. If you can evaluate football players, you can evaluate football players....and I’m sure coaches as well. From a football perspective, I’m totally sold.
4) And that’s what matters the most to this school. The football program. However, the basketball and baseball programs are floundering, and that’s really where having an experienced AD who has handled these areas of athletics would be advantageous. With that being said, if Highsmith could bring in someone as a right-hand man to oversee those sports, I think that could also work. And, to be clear I don’t know that Highsmith wouldn’t do a good job. I would just be more comfortable with someone involved who is experienced. Finding a good candidate willing to take on a subordinate role could also be tricky to find.
5) And that’s where a guy like Jurich comes in. He ran a major program for 20 years, helping bring Louisville football back to relevance and elevating basketball to champions. Yeah, yeah, it was vacated. They were the champions, and everyone knows it. He brought in good coaches across the board. Heck, the Louisville baseball team made it to Omaha four times on his watch. So he’s had significant success in the top three men’s sports programs. That’s what we want, right? Total success across the board, like what Louisville had under Jurich.
6) And yeah, the questions remain about ethics. About the purported hijinxes that went on during his tenure that got himself in some hot water. Don’t know? Read about them. I’m not going to regurgitate them here. The thing is......my morals for sports have flown out the window LONG ago. I. JUST. WANT. TO. WIN. I’ll take my ethics in other areas of my life. Just win. Just do whatever has to be done to win. I don’t care about it. Don’t want to hear it. Find me a winner, come hell or high water. Jurich has the track record to be that guy.
7) So yeah.....Highsmith and Jurich, for different reasons, are very intriguing to me. Miami’s current administration might not have the ethics-be-damned mindset I do, and if so, I would be more than happy with the selection of Highsmith.
8) Because of the continued unknown at the AD position, the fate of Manny Diaz is a little hard to speculate on. I think he’s gone, if you put a gun to my head, but until we know who’s coming in AD, and who’s still available to step in as coach when that AD hire is made.....it’s a little bit like guessing the weather next year. In my mind, Manny Diaz should go. His teams were too sloppy in too many aspects too often, and the coaching - both regarding players’ technique/fundamentals and game preparation itself (i.e., slow starts) - was extremely substandard. And that’s probably putting it mildly.
9) But, for now, the wait continues. And regarding that continued wait, I’ll send you all off with some outside wisdom from UM alum Chris Fallica:
Miami sure has an interesting strategy here... "fire your AD and then do nothing for two weeks." I'm guessing/hoping there's stuff going on behind the scenes and they are closing in on an AD, but who knows. If they aren't, thats a bad sign...— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) November 29, 2021
It's also very unfair to Manny, who could be out there in this job cycle seeking another job right now, if indeed the new AD wants to move on from him. But by the time this AD situation gets squared away, all these jobs could dry/fill up...— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) November 29, 2021
And what coach in their right mind would take the Miami right now if it opens until an AD is hired? "Yes I'll take a job offered by a university administrator on the blind without ultimately knowing who I will be working with on a daily basis!!! Sign me up!!"— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) November 29, 2021
I’ll co-sign all of that.