The sad truth is that UM Head Coach Manny Diaz's hiring is the original sin in this saga | Editorial




 

Miami Hurricanes fans just couldn't fake it anymore.

They couldn't make up excuses to tolerate giving more time to "nice guy" head coach Manny Diaz to get the Hurricanes to coalesce, fight and win.

Enough is enough, although according to social media, one-time Diaz supporters today feel some guilt about doing an "Et, tu, Brutus" on Diaz, who they once believed could turn the program around. But if the University of Miami is to get its mojo back, they agree, it had to be done.

Sadly, Diaz's legacy is a lesson on how not to hire for a big job. In retrospect, it reminds us a little of the fiasco that sank Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Three years ago, UM athletic director Blake James decided Diaz was perfect for the head coach job - no need to look further, skip the national search and go with this guy. Diaz had only been an assistant coach at UM and two other schools. But James decided to throw a Hail Mary pass.

In retrospect, what a fumble.

The head coach job always seemed too daunting for Diaz as he walked the sidelines. A similar, but quicker path, befell Acevedo, who lasted only nine months as Miami police chief after being hailed "a perfect fit" to lead the city's police department.

He had been secretly recruited by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and hired by City Manager Art Noriega to head the 1,400-member force. Candidates who had followed the hiring process were dismissed. Never mind, we have our guy, and we don't need to vet him anymore for possible signs of trouble ahead.

As it turned out, Acevedo couldn't get the hang of Miami, fought publicly fought with Miami commissioners unhappy with his performance and ended up with his career damaged. Those who hired him did him no favor.

It could be construed that UM president Julio Frenk, with his curt note announcing Diaz's departure, is sending a message that this Canes football chapter was a fiasco, too, and all involved should be sent packing.

Last month, James, who helped hire Diaz, was let go. Diaz followed Monday. New day - we hope.

Coach Mario Cristobal is a familiar face and a winning head coach from the University of Oregon.

He was born and raised in Miami. Went to Christopher Columbus High, and was a former national champion offensive tackle with the Hurricanes. This experience will give him cred with the players.

Cristobal, 51, got his start in coaching as a Miami grad assistant in 1998. He took the FIU head coaching job in 2007 and was fired in 2012 after going 27-47. So he knows how terribly things can go.

Cristobal briefly joined UM as associate head coach and tight ends coach. He then did the unthinkable for any South Florida football fan: He accepted a job from Nick Saban to be Alabama's assistant head coach, offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator.

He eventually went to Oregon as co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. When Oregon head coach Willie Taggart left for Florida State, Cristobal was named the team's new head coach. Cristobal's record at Oregon is 35-12.

Today, articles and sports columns about Cristobal sound just like the ones when Diaz came onboard: He'll lead the Canes back to greatness, where they belong.

There is a distinct difference, though. Cristobal is a proven entity. Diaz never was.

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