Penn State Football Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz Officially Hired By Duke

Penn State football defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been officially hired as Duke’s head coach, the Blue Devils announced Thursday. Diaz served as the Nittany Lions’ defensive coordinator from 2022 to 2023, breeding Penn State’s defense into one of the best in the nation during that time.

In Diaz’ first year in charge of Penn State’s defense, the Nittany Lions allowed 18.2 points per game, 323.5 yards per game, and tallied 14 interceptions and one shutout. Diaz’ top cornerback, Joey Porter Jr., became the highest-drafted defensive back in Penn State history in the following NFL Draft, while safety Ji’Ayir Brown was selected in the third round.

Penn State’s defense took a leap forward in 2023, establishing itself as one of the best in the nation. The Nittany Lions ranked first in total defense with 3.91 yards per play and 223.2 yards per game, and the group’s 11.42 points allowed per game ranked third in scoring defense. With shutouts against UMass, Iowa, and Michigan State, the Nittany Lions held three opponents to no scores for the first time since 1978.

Penn State hired Diaz from his job at Miami, where Diaz was fired from his head coaching role after three seasons. James Franklin said he called Diaz the day after he was fired to offer him the defensive coordinator role at Penn State. Diaz posted a record of 21-15 at Miami, which has since gone 12-12 under Mario Cristobal.

Before he was Miami’s head coach, Diaz served as the team’s defensive coordinator from 2016 to 2018. He served as the head coach at Temple for a brief two-week stint in December 2018 but returned to Miami to take the head coaching role after the Hurricanes fired former head coach Mark Richt.

Before Miami, Diaz served as the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State twice and the defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech, Texas, and Middle Tennessee. He was also on the staffs at NC State and Florida State.

Diaz will take over a Duke program that recently lost head coach Mike Elko to the Texas A&M job. The Blue Devils went 7-5 in 2023 and are destined for the Birmingham Bowl against Troy on Saturday, December 23.

Diaz’ departure follows offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, who was fired in November following Penn State’s loss to Michigan. Since then, Franklin hired Kansas’ Andy Kotelnicki to take over as his sixth offensive coordinator since 2014. Diaz’s replacement will be Franklin’s fourth defensive coordinator in that same period, following Diaz, Brent Pry, and Bob Shoop.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a senior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He writes about everything Penn State, especially its 10-2 football team. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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