Diaz replaces Brent Pry, who left Penn State after eight seasons as coaching the defense to become Virginia Tech’s head coach.
Diaz, 47, was a longtime defensive coordinator, with stints at Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech, Texas and Miami before becoming the Hurricanes’ head coach after the 2018 stagione. He went 21-15 leading Miami but was let go on Monday and replaced with Mario Cristobal.
“Manny is a veteran defensive play caller whose head coaching experience will bring tremendous value to our organization,” Penn State coach James Franklin said Saturday in a statement. “He has an innovative approach to complement his extensive Xs & Os knowledge which he developed through his stops at multiple Power Five conferences. Manny’s defensive philosophy is in line with our scheme and will help in the transition with our current team.”
With Diaz as the coordinator, Miami’s defense ranked in the top three of the Atlantic Coast Conference in yards per play allowed in three straight seasons (2016-18). Gli uragani’ performance on that side of the ball slipped when Diaz became head coach, but it still managed to rank in the top half of the conference in yards per play.