Manny Diaz states no Miami football without Howard Schnellenberger

HOLLYWOOD, FL - FEBRUARY 21: (Photo by Ralph Notaro/Getty Images)
HOLLYWOOD, FL - FEBRUARY 21: (Photo by Ralph Notaro/Getty Images) /

Current head coach Manny Diaz stated there would be no Miami football as we know it currently without Howard Schnellenberger. Schnellenberger passed away on Saturday at 87. Diaz spoke about Schnellenberger on Saturday following the Hurricanes’ first 2021 spring scrimmage.

Schnellenberger was the head coach of the Miami football program from 1979-1983. Before Schnellenberger took over as the Hurricanes head coach there was a consideration of dropping the Miami football program to 1-AA (FCS) or eliminating it altogether. Schnellenberger had a vision of winning a National Championship.

Prior to Schnellenberger taking over as head coach, Miami had two winning seasons in the prior 11 years. The Bluebonnet Bowl in 1967 was the last postseason appearance for Miami prior to Schnellenberger taking over the Hurricanes. A victory in the 1966 Liberty Bowl was the last postseason victory prior to 1979.

The formula Schnellenberger created in 1979 of the 30-mile virtual fence of the State of Miami created a recruiting blueprint for the success of the Hurricanes football program over the next 25 years. Diaz is trying to emulate the State of Miami in the current era as much as possible. Diaz spoke about Schnellenberger.

"“I don’t know if there is Miami football without Howard Schnellenberger, not the way that we know it. It’s hard to imagine the state that this program was in when he came here. If you look historically throughout college football, there are the blue bloods, and it’s very, very hard to join that group.Howard Schnellenberger came to the University of Miami and he took down the establishment. And if you look at the way that they scheduled, who they played, ending with the national championship game against Nebraska, and winning that game, you could talk about the football program, [but] he elevated the entire University to a different status in the country.The entire Hurricane community will forever be in debt to him.’”Transcript courtesy Susan Miller Degnan Miami Herald"

Diaz joined the Schnellenberger coaching tree when he was hired by his predecessor Mark Richt as the Miami defensive coordinator in 2016. Richt played quarterback for Miami under Schnellenberger from 1978 through 1982 missing the National Championship season by one year. Richt called Schnelleberger an offensive genius.

Next. Schnellenberger tributes prevalent on social media. dark

The legacy of Schnellenberger will live on forever within the Miami football program. Diaz being the current head coach during the patriarch’s death was appropriate with him being on the Schnellenberger coaching tree. Diaz still has a lot of work ahead of him to get Miami back to program standards set in the 1980s.