As University of Miami coach Mark Richt comes close to finalizing his coaching staff, another longtime Hurricane was dismissed Friday.
Wide receivers coach Kevin Beard, who played with some of the Miami greats when he was part of the last UM national championship team in 2001 and was well loved by his current players, was told by Richt during a morning phone call that he would not be retained.
With only the new receivers coach yet to be officially announced — and even that was unofficially reported by multiple outlets Friday — no one from the former staff remains. By Friday night, multiple reports had USF receivers coach Ron Dugans joining UM as its new receivers coach. Dugans coached Dolphins receiver DeVante Parker at Louisville and is linked to Richt because he played at FSU from 1995 to ’99, when Richt was offensive coordinator for the Seminoles.
UM declined comment on the Dugans reports.
Additionally, the Miami Herald learned Friday that Richt’s son, Jon, who was previously announced as an offensive assistant, will serve as quarterbacks coach, and new defensive coordinator Manny Diaz will also coach linebackers. Richt, 25, the son of the head coach, was a quarterback at Division II Mars Hill College in North Carolina. He transferred there from Clemson, where he was a three-star prospect when he signed with the Tigers in 2008.
Jon Richt spent 2015 as an offensive assistant with the Buffalo Bills and 2014 as an unpaid Georgia coach working with quarterbacks. Mark Richt is expected to call offensive plays this season, and he previously said he wants to work with quarterbacks, so he’ll likely have a hand in tutoring quarterbacks as well.
Diaz previously served as a dual defensive coordinator/linebackers coach at Mississippi State, Louisiana Tech, Texas and Middle Tennessee.
The Hurricanes announced later Friday that former Georgia staffers Gus Felder, John Thomas and Kelin Johnson have been hired by Miami as strength and conditioning coaches, first reported earlier this week by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Felder will serve as the strength and conditioning director, Johnson will be the assistant director and Thomas will be an associate coach.
Beard’s dismissal could have an effect on junior receiver Stacy Coley, who has not yet announced whether he will enter the 2016 NFL Draft. Coley was very close to Beard, and some believe his decision — though a family one, Coley has said — would be affected by Richt’s decision about Beard.
One person close to UM players told the Miami Herald on Friday that after the Sun Bowl, many in the program expected Coley to turn pro. As the Jan. 18 deadline for entering the draft gets closer, that obviously remains in question.
“My conversations with Stacy always are about doing what’s best for him,’’ Beard told the Herald on Wednesday night. “He has a lot to prove. He has an opportunity to prove it and you still always want to get that degree. Those are the things you want to put in front of you.’’
Beard just completed his first season as the UM receivers coach after serving as UM’s assistant director of operations in 2014. He coached the wide receivers for four years at University School in Davie, where he helped the Suns win the 2012 Class 3A state title.
Beard told the Herald he interviewed with Richt for the first time last Saturday.
“At this point it’s out of my control,’’ said Beard, the father of sons ages 9 and 8, and a 4-year-old daughter. “My whole thing has been, with me being who I am, I really trust God. If it’s in God’s plan to be at Miami then I trust it. If not, I have to set my focus on trying to figure out something else.
“I’ve been focusing on the job I have. I’m just trying to trust the plan.”
The coaches already hired: Diaz, Richt, defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski, cornerbacks coach and former Cane Mike Rumph, safeties coach Ephraim Banda, running backs coach/co-offensive coordinator Thomas Brown, offensive line coach Stacy Searels, and special teams coordinator and tight ends coach Todd Hartley.