With the dismissal of athletic director Blake James earlier this week, rumors have already started rumbling about who the new head coach could be should the school decide to let Manny Diaz go after three seasons at the helm of the Hurricanes.
One name floating the rumor mill is Lane Kiffin.
Kiffin is currently the football coach at Ole Miss but made an imprint in Florida while he was coach at Florida Atlantic. Kiffin is in his second season with the Rebels. He put together two 11-win seasons with Florida Atlantic before trying to take on the top schools in the SEC at Ole Miss.
Dan Wetzel, Yahoo’s college football insider, said on the “College Football Enquirer” show he reached out to Nevin Shapiro – a booster who was involved in the school’s NCAA scandal and received a 20-year sentence for a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. Wetzel said Shapiro told him Kiffin was a favorite to become Miami’s next head coach with former head coach Randy Shannon as the defensive coordinator.
South Florida sports journalist Andy Slater also identified Kiffin as a possibility if the job were to open.
James’ dismissal as athletic director came after a big loss to in-state rival Florida State. The school said a search for his replacement is underway and deputy athletic director Jennifer Strawley will serve as interim AD as the search goes on.
Uncertainty around Diaz’s status is sure to grow as the season comes to a close. The team never won a bowl game under him after the school poached him back from Temple before the start of the 2019 season. The school’s best record came last season when they were 8-3 and were ranked as high as seventh in the AP polls.
Diaz said the goal stays the same.
“There’s a mission and the mission this week is to beat Virginia Tech. That’s all we can control. I think because of that mentality our team has been pretty resilient over the course of the year,” he said Wednesday.
Miami is 5-5 this season and 3-3 in ACC play.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.