The Miami Hurricanes Athletic Department has slumped into a disgraceful state under Athletic Director Blake James. I wrote about this in 2018 in a post titled “The decline of Miami Hurricanes men’s athletics,” and three years later can you really say that I was wrong? Nepotism has been the name of the game for the disappointing baseball and football programs while the basketball program has seen a mass exodus after a slump under 71 year old coach Jim Larrañaga.
I may have missed on some of my picks for interviewees but it’s also not my damn career path to know who is on the shortlist for the University of Miami. If it was I would be constantly reaching out and updating to keep a pool of potential head coaches and assistants ready and waiting in case of a need for change. But I was right that the Manny Diaz hire would define James’ legacy at Miami, one of ineptitude.
The Hurricanes have turned into an After School Special. There’s a clear issue that we can all learn from in order to never makes the mistake of paying Temple $4 million for a head coach who has never been in charge of a program again. MTV’s Awkward, which ran from 2011-2016, had an A.S.S. episode of their own in season three, episode 15 titled “A very special episode of Awkward.”
The series is hinged on dorky Jenna Hamilton making a babyface run into popularity with a major heel turn by cheating on her popular boyfriend Matty with hipster doofus Colin. When Jenna has turned to the sticky icky and her new, edgy boyfriend, her friends are pushed to LSU and Utah State and even her Athletic Director is left wondering... What are we gonna do about Manny, uh, I mean Jenna.
According to Awkward’s guidance counselor-slash-utility-educator Val, A.S.S.’s have six key ingredients. They seem to share a lot in common with the six ingredients of Miami’s sad decline into ACC Coastal mid-level status.
There are clear issues. The offense has stopped performing and the defense is broken. The team is penalty and turnover happy while being selfish and unable to tackle ball carriers. The special teams are atrocious, and the head coach should be focused on kicking and culture not being the DC, while he learns to be a head coach in the first place.
1- Establish the problem of the main character. Manny Diaz’s issue is that he should’ve been the head football coach at Temple, not Miami. However, who could blame him for taking the Miami job? That was on the AD Blake James and his Board of Trustees.
Coach Diaz got a sizable raise and a ‘dream job’ for a guy from Miami. However, instead of putting his head down and learning on the job, he held a kegger to embarrass Willie Taggart and borrowed a yacht like a ponzi schemer showing late night ‘get rich quick’ infomercials.
Here is video of Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz taking out a tackling dummy and his players joining in celebration.— Josh White (@_JoshRWhite) January 13, 2019
Each tackling dummy is labeled with something different including a 7-6 record and opponents’ team names. pic.twitter.com/KDk82JJjW6
Diaz preached “The New Miami” and tackled a dummy with 7-6 on it. He proceeded to finish the 2019 season with a record of 6-7, including losses to FIU and Louisiana Tech (hi, Coach Hester). While Miami finished 8-3 in 2020, the Hurricanes have now lost four of their last five games, with the only win being a close call against App State.
So far Miami has been the kings of the transfer portal, and for losing games to teams with less talent. Miami is also 0-2 in bowl games, but Diaz has kept the attention on Miami with 1st round picks like Jaelan Phillips and the turnover chain and touchdown rings. A lot of flash, not a lot of substance in Coral Gables, FL.
2- Her friends are bamboozled. Ephraim Banda, Blake Baker, Mike Rumph, and Todd Stroud were pushed either all the way out (Banda and Baker) or out to pasture (Rumph and Stroud) following that 700 yard disaster against the UNC Tar Heels in 2020. Instead of bringing in a defensive coordinator, Diaz named himself the D.C. of the ‘Canes for the 2021 season.
Ed Reed and Bob Shoop are on campus but I’m not sure anyone knows what either are doing on a day-to-day basis. It all sounded good on paper but in the end this program has suffered under the weight of Diaz not having a larger circle of assistant coaches. The 47 year old Diaz has coached at Florida State, NC State, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State (twice), Louisiana Tech and Miami, as well as the 10 or so very expensive days in Philly at Temple.
3- The Jolly moment. What was Diaz’s jolly moment? Beat up on a a bad FSU program? Stealing Dan Enos from Alabama? It might have been on the yacht that evening as he accepted his new role as head coach. Miami has been whooped by most of the ranked opponents they’ve faced, like: UNC, Clemson, Oklahoma State, and Alabama. They’ve lost to G5 opponents and dropped games to MSU, Duke and Georgia Tech, too. Woof.
4- The tragic event. Was this the FIU loss? Was it the demolishing of Miami by UNC? I think the true tragic event was the UNC game. It became the face saving event that saw Diaz fire his protege Baker and the naming of himself as DC. That’s typically a move made when the board and administration have said you have one more chance to make this work. Larry Coker did it. Randy Shannon did it. Al Golden refused to do it and it cost him his job.
That event was merely a band-aid on a yacht with a giant hole in the hull. The Hurricanes are still committing egregious penalties, burning timeouts, suffering through kicking game miscues, unable to run against Power 5 opponents, dropping passes and the most egregious- losing to teams with much lesser talent.
5- The subject hits rock bottom. Is the subject Manny Diaz or is the subject Miami Hurricanes football? We’re all hoping the subject is The U and that rock bottom is Diaz’s on the job training project is canceled and he and Blake James are gainfully employed somewhere else in the immediate future. I never want to hope someone is unemployed, but I do hope they’re employed elsewhere.
If Manny Diaz is fired before Monday morning I'll eat banana pudding live on Mark Rogers this week.— Cam Underwood (@UnderwoodSports) September 18, 2021
The Miami BOT and Admin need to make sweeping changes to the athletic department which could bring in a new football coach for the ‘22 season, and new basketball and baseball coaches for the ‘23 seasons. Out with the mobbed up Miami nepotism squad and in with some new blood that comes in with fresh ideas, financial connections, and coaching connections.
If this holds, this will drop Manny Diaz to 15-12, with 4 losses in last 5. He's tried everything - two OCs, a turnover chain, doubling as d-coordinator, not doubling as d-coordinator, changing DB and DL and WR coaches, TD rings, a Martell,and alas, not nearly enough has worked.— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) September 18, 2021
6- Help arrives. A new athletic director would be the help that would arrive and could resurrect the ‘Canes athletic department, although someone higher up needs to exterminate the roaches on the BOT.
The football program has an IPF, a remodeled weight room, an NFL stadium to play in, and an improved budget as well as a College Football Playoff caliber Blue Chip Ratio. Now it’s time for a real head coach to come in and turn this team into a program. After all, we’re all tired of The U being A.S.S.