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What they’re saying about Manny Diaz ditching Temple for Miami

People had a lot to say about the surprising move and what it means for the players Diaz just recruited to come to Temple. Also, jokes.

Manny, we hardly knew ye.
Manny, we hardly knew ye.Read moreHEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer

You can say this about college football: It’s never boring.

On Sunday morning, Miami head coach Mark Richt surprised fans, players and his athletic director by announcing his retirement.

Richt, 58, had returned to Miami, where he quarterbacked the Hurricanes in the early 80s, in 2016. He was coming off 15 seasons as Georgia head coach, and the move felt like a homecoming of sorts.

But just three seasons later -- and days after Miami was thrashed by Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl, bringing a disappointing 7-6 season to an end -- Richt is done with his alma mater.

And this is where Temple comes in.

Temple recently filled its own coaching vacancy by hiring Manny Diaz, Richt’s defensive coordinator at Miami.

Geoff Collins, after two seasons on North Broad Street, had taken the Georgia Tech job, which opened when Paul Johnson retired.

Collins became the fourth Temple head coach in a row to jump to a Power Five job after just a handful of seasons with the Owls. Al Golden left for Miami in December 2010, followed by Steve Addazio leaving for Boston College in December 2012 and Matt Rhule for Baylor in December 2016.

Diaz was introduced to the media on Dec. 13.

“I was very deliberate in my time in trying to search out the right head coaching opportunity,” Diaz said at the time. “I have had different opportunities during the years and I really wanted to find something that was the right fit, but the right fit for my family.”

He was hired a week before high school recruits could officially sign their letters of intent to join college programs. Diaz immediately hit the road and managed to keep the recruiting class intact come Dec. 19.

And then, less than two weeks after national signing day, three weeks after we pondered how long Diaz would remain with Temple, we got our answer: less than a month.

Diaz jilted Temple and opted to remain in South Florida, taking over for his former boss just hours after Richt’s retirement was made public.

As one can expect, the reaction among the college football world was incredulous.

As soon as the Richt news came out, people started discussing if Diaz was a candidate.

Those jokes turned into truths just hours later.

And of course, people had jokes about it.

The timing of the whole thing was very curious.

For his part, Diaz expressed regret about how the situation went down.

“As excited as I am about staying home, I hate the way this unfolded with respect to Temple," he said in a statement. "I was given a tremendous opportunity to lead the Temple program and I was actively engaged in doing just that when I woke up this morning.

“I never saw this coming, no one did. I do hope that the Temple players, administration and fans appreciate the uniqueness of this situation and the overwhelming pull to stay home.”

Diaz led one of the nation’s best defenses and helped to begin a new trend when he introduced the “turnover chain" at Miami. Defensive players who forced a turnover would be allowed to wear the blinged-out necklace on the sidelines following the play.

But maybe Diaz just gave the turnover chain new meaning.

It can’t be ignored that Temple has a great record of propelling coaches into better jobs. However, this time ...

The whole situation highlights a sticking point in college athletics: how is Diaz -- or any other coach -- allowed to jump from program to program, but players aren’t awarded the same chance?

So, what’s next for Temple? Another coaching search, it appears.

Ed Foley coached the Owls in their Independence Bowl loss to Duke last week. He reportedly got a look when the coaching search initially opened.

And what about the assistants who were just brought in?

Fran Brown returned to Philly after leaving for Baylor and Rhule’s staff two years ago -- a move considered a coup in the recruiting landscape in the area.

And Gabe Infante left his job as head coach at St. Joseph’s Prep to take an assistant position with the Owls.

At least we have a new way to describe how we’ll be celebrating New Year’s Eve.

And hey, let’s not forget how things used to be at Temple ...