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Report: Duke Hires Penn State Football Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz As Head Coach

Duke has reportedly hired Penn State football defensive coordinator Manny Diaz as its next head coach. The news was first reported by Yahoo Sports’ Ross Dellenger, and ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg reported the deal was closed.

Diaz served as Penn State’s defensive coordinator for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. In 2022, his defense allowed 18.2 points per game, 323.5 yards per game, and tallied 14 interceptions and one shutout, which helped nominate him as a semifinalist for the Broyles Award. Additionally, cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and safety Ji’Ayir Brown were later selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The defense improved significantly and was among the best in the nation in 2023. It 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. The Nittany Lions also had shutouts against Iowa, UMass, and Michigan State.

Before his stint in Happy Valley, Diaz was the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes from 2019 to 2021, where he went 21-15. He took the Hurricanes to two bowl games, registering losses in the Independence Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl.

Diaz’s stops in Miami and Happy Valley are among many throughout his 25-year coaching career. He started as a graduate assistant at Florida State, his alma mater, in the Seminoles’ 1999 national title-winning season. He then spent the next five years at NC State in the same role before taking his first defensive coordinator job at Middle Tennessee from 2006 to 2009.

After his stint at Middle Tennessee, Diaz got his first taste of running a power-five defense at Mississippi State in 2010. He then did the same at Texas from 2011 to 2013 and at Louisiana Tech in 2014 before returning to Oxford for the 2015 season.

In 2016, Diaz became Miami’s defensive coordinator. The Hurricanes ranked 20th in total defense and 12th in scoring defense, which were substantial improvements from the prior season. He maintained that role until he was hired by Temple to be its head coach in December 2018. However, Miami offered Diaz its head coaching job just two weeks later, and Diaz left Temple to go back to the Hurricanes.

Diaz will reportedly return to the ACC as a head coach to lead Duke, which lost Mike Elko to Texas A&M’s head coaching vacancy on November 26. The Blue Devils went 7-5 this season, which started with an upset win over Clemson and near-upsets of Notre Dame and North Carolina.

James Franklin will be in search of a new defensive coordinator following the hiring of offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki. It would be Franklin’s fourth time hiring a new defensive coordinator after Bob Shoop, Brent Pry, and Diaz’s departures from the program.

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About the Author

Nolan Wick

Nolan is a third-year journalism major from Silver Spring, Maryland, which means he's an avid fan of all D.C. sports teams. If Nolan isn't writing about or watching sports, you can probably find him listening to all sorts of music or traveling. To keep up with Nolan, you can follow him on Twitter @nolan_wick or email him at [email protected].

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