Manny Diaz’s vision for Miami football emphasizes integrity

CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 02: Manny Diaz of the Miami Hurricanes addresses the media during his introductory press conference in the Mann Auditorium at the Schwartz Center on January 2, 2019 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
CORAL GABLES, FL - JANUARY 02: Manny Diaz of the Miami Hurricanes addresses the media during his introductory press conference in the Mann Auditorium at the Schwartz Center on January 2, 2019 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

During his speech at the Brian Piccolo Awards in Coral Springs on Thursday night, Miami football coach Manny Diaz emphasized his vision for the Hurricanes future revolves around integrity.

Playing on the Miami football team means certain standards. Only Alabama has won more national championships than the Hurricanes since their first title in 1983. Miami football head coach Manny Diaz emphasized the importance of living an honest, truthful life as the values he wants to install with his team.

Creating a culture is essential when any new coach takes over. Despite being the defensive coordinator for the Miami football team under Mark Richt, the culture Diaz is creating in very different than Richt’s. Diaz is far more active and entertaining on social media. He clearly wants to create the image of a player’s coach.

Diaz gave a riveting speech at the Piccolo Awards honoring high school senior football players in South Florida as cited by Christy Chirinos of the Sun Sentinel. 

"“What was important for me to realize, I had to come up with some very tangible values that if you play football for the Miami Hurricanes, that you knew that this would be the standard that you’d be upheld to. And these are things that we would take ourselves very seriously on … the way we define this is not what we aspire to be.There’s always the sort of high and mighty things we all aspire to be. But look at it this way — if you really want to know who you are, what’s the one thing you couldn’t take? What’s the one thing that would drive you crazy if someone described you in this way?If you find out what that is, you’ll find out what’s important to you. We found out there were five things that were non-negotiables that our football team has to be judged by on every day and the guys that play football for us have to be judged by every day and they’re all measurable.What I’d encourage you to do is to find some things you can measure that you can live by every day that you can say, ‘Right now, in this time of transition, I know who I’m going to be going forward and I know I can define myself by these things.’For us at Miami, No. 1 is integrity. Integrity. What if they say you don’t have integrity. What do you have? Nothing. You have nothing. What’s the first word that pops in your mind when you talk about integrity? It’s usually what, honesty? Truth. Telling the truth. That’s all a part of it. But there’s more to it than that.And this is especially true for your age — integrity is being truthful to yourself. You guys are growing up with things we in the back of the room never grew up with. You live a life based off of numbers. The numbers of likes, the numbers of retweets, the number of followers, the number of “friends.”You live in a world that encourages you to be defined by the definitions of others. One of the great speakers who came up here tonight actually had a quote on that and how foolish that is. Be truthful to yourself. It’s important that we are who we say we are and we do what we say we’re going to do.For us, at UM, the worst thing we can ever be called is a fraud. That’s the dirtiest word someone can ever call you. A fraud. We all run our own race. But you have to win your race and the biggest way you lose respect is when someone finds out you’re really trying to run someone else’s race.Run your own race, win your own race, that’s integrity…We want to be men of great integrity. Second, we want to be men of great toughness. It’s very important that we have toughness. With football, the first thing everyone thinks about is physical toughness. And there’s no doubt that’s a part of it.But much, much more important is mental toughness. How resilient are you? Do you persevere when things get difficult? Those are traits right now in very, very short supply. That’s why you need the great coaches in the back of the room. At some point, they’ve pushed you. … That’s called being resilient.Resilience is a muscle. It has to be worked out like any other muscle in a gym. You have resilience, that’s why you’re sitting here today. Don’t stop exercising that muscle. It will give you a competitive advantage in the world, I promise you that.So, we want to be men of integrity, we want to have great toughness and we have to have great passion. Nothing great in life has ever been accomplished without enthusiasm. We at the University of Miami should play football with passion. We live in a passionate city.People spend their hard-earned money to come down and vacation here. Why? They want to listen to our music. They want to dance in our clubs. They want to go to the beach. They want to breathe in our culture.Our culture, our community is one of passion. It only stands to reason that the Miami Hurricanes should play with passion. The people here, we want to see our team play with passion. That’s no different beyond the sport of football.”"

Diaz’s final two pillars were competitive excellence and passion. Richt and the Miami football team were often criticized for lacking passion last season. Those that know Richt privately say he is inwardly competitive. Former Atlanta talk show host John Michaels who covered Richt when he was at Georgia frequently criticized Richt’s stoicism.

Diaz has reset how the Miami football program will be conducted during his tenure. He and Richt worked together well but have very different personalities. Diaz is open and outgoing, while Richt is more conservative and reserved. Both expect integrity from their players.

When rising junior wide receiver Jeff Thomas wasn’t living up to unspecified expectations last season he wound up not playing in the last two games of the 2018 Miami football season. Diaz has welcomed Thomas back but he will be expected to be a key contributed on and off the field in 2019.

Next. Manny Diaz wants toughness, fun and Miami players playing hard. dark

Miami was resilient and mentally tough during the 2017, 10-3 season. The Hurricanes had several comebacks and close victories that other teams might have lost. Being mentally tough in a close game is essential. It’s often the difference between winning and losing. Miami’s four 2018 regular season losses were by a total of 30 points.