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Five Miami Head Coaching Replacements For Manny Diaz

Liam McKeone
James Franklin
James Franklin / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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The Miami Hurricanes will probably be searching for a new head coach sooner rather than later. Manny Diaz has not lived up to the billing required for a football school like Miami; his Hurricanes teams have yet to win anything of note over the last two and a half years. Miami is in the midst of another mediocre season, sitting at 5-5 in a weak ACC. The noise around his job security reached the max this week, when Miami AD Blake James was fired. James was the one who brought Diaz in, and a new AD won't have the same sense of loyalty and investment to succeed in Diaz as James did.

Miami is a prestigious program that has fallen on hard times of late. If the head coach job became available, it would be highly-coveted. Miami and its surrounding counties have long been a hot bed for the highest-end football talent in the country. Diaz was unable to take advantage of that. His 2022 class is ranked 64th in the country. A different coach may be able to succeed where Diaz failed in that area, and potential is limitless if they do.

Here are four possible candidates for the Miami head coaching gig if tea leaves read true and Diaz is out after this year.

Lane Kiffin

Earlier today, a rumor surfaced that Kiffin would be willing to leave Ole Miss if the Miami job became available. It makes a certain amount of sense. He's familiar with the recruiting territory after spending a few years coaching Florida Atlantic, and Kiffin's stock has rebounded during his time with the Rebels; in only two years with Ole Miss, Kiffin has them competing for a big bowl game this season and quarterback Matt Corrall looks like a future top pick. Kiffin is a brand name, even if it comes with some past controversy, and would at the very least make Miami football exciting again with his imaginative offensive play-calling.

James Franklin

There have been consistent murmurs over the last year that Franklin is done with Penn State and is looking for a new landing spot. Miami would be absolutely thrilled to have him. Franklin made Penn State great under his watch because he's one of the top recruiters in the country, and he would be invaluable in the hotbed of Miami talent. That alone is good enough, but Franklin turns that talent into wins on top of it all and Penn State is regularly in the Top-15 discussion in the AP polls. If all those rumblings about the coach and his current school turn out to be true, Franklin would be a huge get for Miami.

Mario Cristobal

Cristobal is another elite recruiter among the college head coaching ranks and is a Miami alumnus on top of it all. He'd make a lot of sense as a candidate for Miami to target. Beyond the fact that Cristobal is a good football coach and even better recruiter, hiring a former player who was twice All-Conference during some of Miami's best football days would be a massive PR win for everyone involved. He probably makes the most sense on paper in every regard-- the question is if he wants to leave the program he built at Oregon, which is an important question indeed. Miami would also have to fork over quite a bit of money to pry Cristobal away from Oregon.

Gus Malzahn

Malzahn is in his first season at UCF and isn't the biggest name out there. But if Miami came a-callin, it would be hard to imagine Malzahn turning down the gig. He's the safe option of this list, a rock-solid recruiter and coach who was let go at Auburn after years of consistently decent success but he could never get his team over the top. It's hard to imagine much would be different at The U, but things have been bad for Miami over the last half-decade or so. Malzahn would be a steady hand to put Miami back into regular contention for the ACC title, even if his ceiling appears low based on his previous coaching stops.

Kalani Sitake

Here's a fun under-the-radar candidate for us to consider. Besides having a sick name, Sitake brings a lot to the table. His BYU squad has punched above their weight all season in 2021, a continuation of an outstanding 2020 that saw the Cougars finish 11-1. He seems ripe for a promotion to a bigger program, and while he doesn't have the name recognition of the other coaches on this list, he certainly seems like he'd be the smart hire who goes underappreciated until the Hurricanes start winning games en masse.

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