Two years after he was last in the head coaching game, Manny Diaz has been named the head coach of the Duke Blue Devils. The Florida State alum returns to the ACC, the scene of his last head coaching role, replacing Mike Elko in Durham.
Manny Diaz Hired as the Duke Blue Devils Head Coach
Duke has hired former Miami Hurricanes head coach Diaz to be their new head coach, the program has announced. After spending the past two seasons with the Penn State Nittany Lions as their defensive coordinator, Diaz takes over for Elko following his appointment as the Texas A&M head coach.
The Blue Devils went 7-5 win their final season under Elko, struggling down the stretch after going 4-0 to open the season, including a famous win over Clemson. Diaz inherits a team that saw starting quarterback Riley Leonard enter the transfer portal.
Under their previous head coach, Duke has excelled on defense, making Diaz a perfect fit for the Blue Devils. During his tenure as the defensive coordinator for Penn State, the Nittany Lions finished as a top-10 scoring defense in both seasons.
Meanwhile, the program led the nation in (fewest) total yards allowed during the 2023 season, while ranking third in the country for both passing and rushing defense. Under his tutelage, multiple Penn State players have received significant national and NFL attention.
His arrival at Duke is a homecoming of sorts. The Florida State alum has spent a substantial period of his coaching career in the ACC. Starting as a grad assistant with the Seminoles in 1998, Diaz spent six years at NC State in various roles before returning to the conference with Miami in 2016 as defensive coordinator — a role he’s held at several programs.
Showcasing his defensive prowess, Diaz was a nominee for the Broyles Award during his first season with the Hurricanes. The program gained a reputation for ferocious, turnover-forcing units that ranked near the top of the country in multiple metrics.
His success made him the natural successor to Mark Richt, who retired in December 2018. Diaz was lured back to the program after a brief dalliance with the head coaching role at Temple for his first — and only (up to this point) — position at the forefront of a college football program.
After a turbulent start to his tenure in 2019, Diaz guided the Hurricanes to an 8-3 record in the disrupted 2020 season. That year, Miami reached an AP Poll-high of seventh, the highest for the program since 2017. However, following a 7-5 campaign in 2021, he was relieved of his duties with a 21-15 overall record and two bowl game defeats on his résumé.
Diaz has rebuilt his reputation on the back of Penn State’s defensive success, and ESPN reported that he’d been the top target to replace Elko for “an extended period.” With the announcement of his appointment, Duke has landed their man.