AUSTIN, Texas -- Filling a critical need on a coaching staff that went through a major shakeup after a 5-7 season, Texas Longhorns hired Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to do the same job with the Longhorns.
Diaz replaces Will Muschamp, who left Texas after three seasons to become the head coach at Florida. Diaz inherits a defense that struggled badly in Texas' first losing season since 1997.
"Texas is a place that when coaches around the country get talking, it's hard to get through a conversation without the Longhorns coming up," Diaz said. "It's a place that is always one of the first mentioned among the best jobs out there."
Diaz is the biggest hire so far on a Texas staff that was full of holes. Muschamp left, offensive coordinator Greg Davis resigned, offensive line coach Mac McWhorter and defensive tackles coach and special teams coordinator Mike Tolleson retired and wide receivers coach Bobby Kennedy took a similar job at Colorado.
Muschamp was paid $900,000 annually in a contract that had designated him the Longhorns' next head coach if he was still at Texas when Mack Brown retired.
Brown, who led Texas to the 2005 national championship, had been noted for holding his staff together over the years with the notable exception of defensive coordinator. Diaz will be Texas' sixth defensive coordinator since 2003. Three of them, Gene Chizik, Greg Robinson and Muschamp, left for head coaching jobs.
Brown had said before the 2010 season he expected the defense to maybe be the best he'd ever had at Texas, but a roster depleted of several NFL draft picks faltered badly against the run in losses to UCLA, Iowa State, Kansas State and Texas A&M. The Longhorns went 2-5 at home.
"After an extensive search, including conversations with head coaches and offensive coordinators around the country, Manny's name continued to come up," Brown said. "He's a bright, young coach who brings a lot of energy to our program."
Earlier this week, Texas hired Bo Davis from Alabama as defensive tackles coach and Darrell Wyatt from Kansas as wide receivers coach.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press
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