The former FSU football assistant will be leaving his post at a hated rival of the Seminoles and will be replaced by a FSU grad who has tortured the Noles.
As many in the FSU football world were enjoying Sunday brunch, it was news that came out of a hated rival to the south that stole the day – Mark Richt, who had spent the last three seasons as the leader of his alma mater Miami, was retiring in a shocking announcement that came following the team’s blowout bowl loss last week.
Now, there may have not be as much animosity toward Richt as other rival coaches based on the 15 seasons he coached the Seminoles that included two national titles – but once he took over the orange and green (and beat the Noles twice), it would become easy to dislike him and be happy that the ‘Canes were scrambling to find their new leader.
Miami was sent scrambling for a moment to try their best to hire someone that would make a splash the way Richt did after he was fired from Georgia after 15 seasons – and did so the same day apparently with someone who is very familiar to the school and FSU football as well.
Late Sunday night, the school announced they were going to hire Manny Diaz – yes, the former Miami defensive coordinator and FSU grad who was hired 17 days ago to become the head coach at Temple (so technically, Miami has hired two coaches from the Owls since 2010).
The Hurricanes had a 10 win season in 2017 and beat depleted Seminole teams by a total of five points the last two seasons, but there was clearly a downhill direction with Richt behind the wheel – mostly in part because of his perceived stubbornness to change things and part with coaches after a 7-6 season in 2018.
In short, it was a perfect storm brewing for the FSU football team while they watched their rivals self implode with a recruiting class ranked by Rivals as No. 42 in the country – just 28 spots below the 5-7 Seminoles and below such “power” programs like Duke, Minnesota and Indiana.
Almost none of those flaws were the fault of Diaz, which kept the defense among the best in college football and introduced that stupid Turnover Chain to the world that created numerous other stupid gimmicks (except our turnover backpack, cause that thing is glorious, right?)
As a South Florida resident, I can tell you first hand that the seat warmed big time under Richt after Miami got dog stomped by Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl. Numerous Miami grads – yes, they do exist – would tell me they wanted Richt gone because of his not hiring an offensive coordinator or having two defenses leaders or losing nine of their last 16 games.
Diaz is going to make the changes needed and not be afraid to clear house of Richt’s staff members on the offensive side of the ball – which stinks for FSU football and others because it seemed like that stubbornness from Richt was about to catch up to them.
More importantly, he is going to recruit South Florida and probably keep the core group of some Hurricanes classes that will make that ranking move up and make the Seminoles work harder to take kids from South Florida like they did this year.
The best thing that could have happened would have been for what used to be “The U” to try and make a splashy hire – Lane Kiffin from FAU for example – that wasn’t a good fit. Bringing back Diaz (after likely paying millions to Temple to do so) was not the best thing the could have taken place.