Looking to replace a defense-minded head coach with another in the same mold, Temple has gone to the same state to find its next football coach.
Manny Diaz, who has spent the last three seasons as defensive coordinator at the University of Miami, has been hired to replace Geoff Collins, who left Friday for the same job at Georgia Tech after two seasons at Temple. Collins was the defensive coordinator at the University of Florida for two seasons before being hired by Temple.
Temple will introduce Diaz in a 3 p.m. press conference on Thursday.
The 44-year-old Diaz wasn’t the Owls' first choice, but he also shouldn’t be considered a consolation prize. According to the source, Temple was in negotiations with Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko, a Penn graduate the Owls thought they would hire.
“We just couldn’t come to an agreement,” the source said.
The Owls then went back to Diaz, who, like Collins, would arrive with no head-coaching experience.
Diaz had truly impressed the Owls, somebody familiar with the interview process said.
The difference in their initial selection of Elko appeared to be that the 41-year-old Elko knows the area, having played at Penn, coached there as an assistant and gone to high school at South Brunswick, N.J.
Diaz certainly knows the fertile recruiting area of Florida. He was born in Miami and his father was once the mayor of Miami. More important, he is known as a strong recruiter.
And he’s not a bad coach, either.
This year he guided a unit that was second nationally in total defense, allowing 268.3 yards per game, and 15th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 18.2 points per game. Miami also led the nation in fewest passing yards allowed per game, 140.8.
Temple (8-4) will be guided by interim head coach Ed Foley when the Owls face Duke (7-5) in the Independence Bowl on Dec. 27 in Shreveport, La. Foley was among those who interviewed for the job. Miami (7-5) will face Wisconsin (7-5) in the Pinstripe Bowl, also Dec. 27, at Yankee Stadium.
Of utmost importance is that the early signing period will begin next Wednesday, Dec. 19. That is why Temple went through the interview process so quickly. Interviews were staged Monday and Tuesday and it was estimated that eight to 10 candidates interviewed for the job.
Another source said that recruiting has been difficult without a head coach in place, an expected occurrence.
So Temple was in a hurry to get its new coach on the road recruiting. And that should now happen soon enough.