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Onward Debates: Will Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz Leave Penn State Football For A Head Coaching Job?

Now the college football regular season has come to a close, several head coaching vacancies have opened up at schools across the country. While the biggest opening on the market has been filled with Mike Elko accepting a job at Texas A&M, other, smaller programs are still looking for their head coaches of the future.

Although his name hasn’t been mentioned as much as others, Penn State football’s defensive coordinator, Manny Diaz, might be a candidate. He was the head coach for the Miami Hurricanes from 2019 to 2021, where he went 21-15.

Diaz has seen significant success in his role in his two seasons on the job but especially this season. His defense finished No. 1 in total defense, with 2,679 total yards allowed and 3.91 per play. The program saw NFL-caliber players such as Joey Porter Jr., PJ Mustipher, and potential first-round draft picks in Chop Robinson and Kalen King under his watch.

Therefore, with teams potentially calling over Diaz’s availability, two of our staffers debated whether he’ll stay in Happy Valley or head somewhere else to take a head coaching job.

Matt Brown: Manny Diaz Is Leaving

After being fired as the head coach for the Miami Hurricanes, Manny Diaz has been the man in charge of the Penn State defense for the past two seasons. He was hired as the defensive coordinator and, right away, his impact of coaching showed that over the past two seasons, the Nittany Lions defense has been one of the best in the country. While staying in Happy Valley and continuing to make this defense one of the best would be nice, I believe his time here is done.

With a multitude of quality jobs still open around the college football world, I think Diaz will finally decide to become a head coach once again. A spot that seems like the best fit for Diaz seems to be the recently vacated Duke job that opened after Mike Elko left for Texas A&M. The Blue Devils have built a winning football program over the past couple of years, winning nine games last year and seven this season. This allows Diaz to take over a program that doesn’t need a full-on rebuild and could be a competitive team in no time at all. Going to Duke would also allow Diaz to return to the ACC, a conference and area of recruiting the former Miami coach is familiar with.

Another viable option Diaz could take is the Syracuse job. Like Duke, the Orange play in the ACC and would allow Diaz to return to the conference he knows well. The difference, however, is Syracuse has a long way to go before it can become one of the better teams in the ACC, so a long rebuild would be in place if Diaz is up for the challenge.

While the offers might not be Miami or Clemson, there are definitely worthwhile jobs out there for Diaz to take, and I believe that Florida native will be on his way out in the near future.

Nolan Wick: Manny Diaz Is Staying

While Manny Diaz is among the best defensive coordinators in the country, I don’t think he’s leaving this year.

Diaz was never believed to be a candidate for the Texas A&M job before the Aggies hired now-former Duke head coach Mike Elko. Since he probably wasn’t on the list for the top vacancy in the country, it’s hard to imagine other schools wanting him. And, if I’m Diaz, I’m not taking a job at a school like Indiana, where I’m basically set up to fail when I can coach one of the best defenses in the land and potentially win a national championship.

I don’t get the sense Diaz is readying to leave — at least not now. While I do believe he’ll probably end up becoming a head coach again somewhere at some point, none of the options available seem like great fits for all parties involved.

Even Syracuse doesn’t seem ideal. As of now, the Orange aren’t believed to be targeting Diaz. And, because Diaz has been fired by another ACC school, it wouldn’t make sense for them to give him another shot. A near-.500 record as head coach in Coral Gables, which has more resources than its rival in New York, won’t cut it given he hasn’t shown he can succeed as a head coach in that conference. Diaz stays for at least another year, so take a deep breath, everybody.

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