Dan Mullen hires Manny Diaz as MSU’s new defensive coordinator

It’s official. Dan Mullen has hired Manny Diaz as Mississippi State’s new defensive coordinator on a three-year deal worth $1.8 million. Diaz will be paid $575,000 his first year, $600,000 in 2016 and $625,000 in 2017, and a buyout is included in the contract.

Diaz, right, celebrates with Dan Mullen, center, after beating Kentucky in Starkville in 2010.

Diaz, right, celebrates with Dan Mullen, center, after beating Kentucky in Starkville in 2010.

Diaz arrives in Starkville from Louisiana Tech, where his defense finished near the top of nearly all categories in Conference USA in 2014, and his hiring at MSU is a return to the place he was hired and coached in 2010, the first big season under Mullen at MSU when his team went 9-4 and beat Michigan in the Gator Bowl.

Mullen hired Diaz then to coach linebackers and serve as defensive coordinator, the same positions he will hold now as the Bulldogs were also in need of a linebackers coach. As coordinator on that 2010 team, Diaz led MSU’s defense to one of its best years of Mullen’s tenure, only allowing 19.8 points per game, the third-best mark in the SEC. Four linebackers from that team went on to play in the NFL.

Diaz was at Texas with Mack Brown under the same position before joining Tech last year where his 2014 defense finished No. 2 in Conference USA in scoring defense and total defense, as well as No. 1 in rush defense and interceptions and No. 2 in sacks, third down defense and opposing passer efficiency.

As recently as December, Diaz was tweeting with Johnthan Banks, the former Thorpe Award winner who was one of many stars on Diaz’s defense at MSU in 2010. The two were recalling an instance in which Banks blitzed and sacked then-Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, a game in which MSU’s defense held the Heisman winner to one of his lowest outputs of his stellar junior season and only allowed Auburn 17 points, the lowest total of their National Championship season.

“The program made a great choice in the hiring of Coach Diaz as defensive coordinator,” Banks said Monday afternoon. “There’s familiarity with him from his previous time at Mississippi State and with what he accomplished in the past here. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish as a program this coming season. I know we will build on what we did this season and can’t wait for 2015.”

That play from Banks in 2010 is a good look into Diaz’s style, a coach who likes to bring pressure from all angles and places, creating confusion for opposing offenses and taking chances to create turnovers. That style resulted in Tech leading the nation in turnovers in 2014.

Diaz is expected to begin recruiting and other job duties in the immediate future.

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8 Responses to Dan Mullen hires Manny Diaz as MSU’s new defensive coordinator

  1. Ken Ramsey says:

    You don’t often see an assistant coach leave a program for “greener pastures” and then return several years later, particularly when the head coach is the same. I wish Manny and our defense nothing but the best. I think he is a good hire, both because he certainly knows what he is doing on the defensive side and knows how to recruit to aid that philosophy.

  2. Buddy Hess says:

    He needs to start recruiting immmediately if not sooner. Welcome back Manny. All the SEC women are happy.

  3. wmounsey says:

    I too am happy with the hire… Welcome back,…

  4. Judy Janes Youngblood says:

    Looking forward to exciting football season!!!!

  5. Lol says:

    Lmao, they failed to mention he was canned at UT for a defense that got shredded by BYU

    • bulldogbuck says:

      How many teams held BYU’s rushing attack in check last year? And the UT offense certainly didn’t help out matters, while the defense at least held BYU to field goal attempts on four drives, forced two turnovers, and byu still punted 6 times. How did UT answer, they punted on 8 drives. THAT is what a DC getting thrown under the bus looks like. That being said, yeah, that did get a little ridiculous, but it is a good hire. Even good coaches lose from time to time, just look at the two years before, he was pretty solid, especially considering what appears to be decline in UT’s recruiting over the years. They were certainly better with Diaz for two years than they have been since.

  6. Cynthia Leonard says:

    So glad you are back Coach! Sorry Coach Collins left but since he did, really glad you are a bulldog again!!!

  7. Linda Shaw says:

    Welcome home Coach Diaz.
    the Bulldog Fans are ready for another terrific football season in 2015.

    Go Bulldogs!,
    Kirk and Linda Shaw
    Mobile, Alabama

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