LA Tech hires ex-Texas defensive coordinator
Manny Diaz (Submitted Photo/Courtesy of Louisiana Tech University Athletics)
Louisiana Tech head football coach Skip Holtz confirmed national reports Tuesday that former Texas and Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has been hired in the same capacity with the Bulldogs.
Diaz brings an impressive resume that includes 14 years of experience and appearances in 12 bowl games. He most recently was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Texas (2011-13), a team that showed vast improvement in run defense during his tenure.
“I am very excited Manny Diaz is joining our staff,” Holtz said in a university release. “He brings great experiences with a lot of success at a lot of different stops. He brings excitement, a passion for the game, plenty of experience and a reputation for success that precedes him. I look forward to working with him and welcome him to the LA Tech Family.”
Diaz, whose hire is pending approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, inherits a defense that was the fourth most-improved in the country. Overall, LA Tech ranked 63rd nationally in total defense in 2013, allowing 408.2 yards per game.
In 2012, Diaz guided a defense that allowed just 212 passing yards per game despite playing in a Big 12 that featured five of the nation’s top 10 passing offenses. Texas also led the conference in sacks and tackles for loss.
During his first season at Texas, Diaz led the top defense in the Big 12 as the Longhorns ranked first in the conference in total defense, rushing defense and pass defense.
Overall the unit ranked 11th nationally in total defense and was sixth against the run despite facing six offenses that ranked in the top 15 nationally.
In 2010 with Mississippi State, Diaz guided a defense that ranked 22nd in the nation in scoring defense (19.9 ppg), 17th in rushing defense (214.9 ypg) and 17th in tackles for loss (7 pg). That was a dramatic turnaround for Mississippi State from the season prior to his arrival.
In 2009, the defense finished 71st in scoring defense, 62nd in rushing defense and 89th in tackles for loss.
Prior to Mississippi State, Diaz spent four seasons as defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State University. Diaz also coached linebackers for two years after mentoring the safeties during his first two years.
In four years with Diaz, the Middle Tennessee defense led its conference in sacks and tackles for loss twice and finished no lower than third in the league in either category during his tenure.
In 2009, the Blue Raiders finished second nationally in tackles for loss, stopping more than eight and a half plays per game behind the line of scrimmage. Diaz’s defense also ranked sixth nationally in sacks that season, posting nearly three per game.
Overall, Diaz’s unit produced 17 all-conference players during his time there and put up three of the top four fewest yards allowed averages at Middle Tennessee in its FBS era.
Before joining Middle Tennessee, Diaz played a major role for one of the country’s top-ranked defenses by coaching safeties in 2004-05 and handling the linebackers in 2002-03 for NC State.
In 2005, the Wolfpack finished eighth nationally in total defense, sixth in third-down percentage, and 12th in scoring defense en route to a 7-5 record and a shutout win against South Florida in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. He also served as special teams’ coordinator and his kickoff return unit finished fifth nationally, while his punt return team blocked four kicks.
In his first year as safeties coach and special teams’ coordinator in 2004, N.C. State’s defense finished the year as the top-ranked unit in the country in total defense by allowing just more than 220 yards per game.
Diaz handled the linebackers for N.C. State in 2002 and 2003. In 2003, the Wolfpack won the Tangerine Bowl and finished 7-5 with Diaz sharing play-calling duties for all 11 games. He also made all the defensive calls during the bowl win over Kansas.
In his first year as a full-time coach, Diaz helped the Wolfpack to one of their best seasons ever, finishing 11-3 and defeating Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl. He shared in the play-calling duties, and N.C. State ended the year ranked 14th nationally in total defense and 10th in scoring defense.
Diaz spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons at NC State as a graduate assistant working primarily with the linebackers. During that time, the Wolfpack went to two bowl games and became the first ACC team to beat Florida State in Tallahassee.
Diaz began his coaching career at Florida State in 1998, working alongside defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews for two seasons. During his stint, the Seminoles won a National Championship in 1999 and were runners-up in 1998.