University of Miami

New Miami football coach Manny Diaz makes strength hire for UM staff from Temple

Manny Diaz was named the Miami head football coach on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018
Manny Diaz was named the Miami head football coach on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018 AP

New University of Miami football coach Manny Diaz has hired the man entrusted to make the Hurricanes bigger, faster and stronger.

Diaz, who was named the Hurricanes coach last Sunday, has named David Feeley from Temple University the new Miami director of strength and conditioning for football.

Feeley also was Diaz’s first personnel move at Temple, where Diaz served a brief stint last month as head coach and retained Feeley as head strength and conditioning coach but gave him the new title of Temple Assistant Athletics Director, Football Sports Performance.

Feeley came to Temple in 2017 but also served as the assistant FIU strength and conditioning coach from 2008-2010.

“David is an outstanding coach who has a strong track record of motivating players to help them reach their full potential,” Diaz said. The culture we’re putting into place and the tone we set for the upcoming season starts in the weight room when our players return to campus. That’s why this hire was so critical and I’m thrilled to welcome David to the Miami program.”

Ball State hired Feeley away from FIU in 2011, and he stayed at Ball State through 2015, before spending 2016 as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at South Carolina.

“David Feeley comes highly recommended from a number of people I trust,” said former Ball State coach Pete Lembo at the time Feeley was hired there, stressing Feeley’s “energy, work ethic, organizational skills and creativity.’’

“I enjoyed getting to know him through the hiring process,’’ Lembo said. “He learned from Jay Butler at Rutgers, who in my opinion, is one of the best strength coaches in the business. David made an impact at FIU and helped the Golden Panthers to their first bowl appearance in school history.”

Feeley is known for ensuring that players work hard every day and are accountable to the program, something Diaz stresses. Running has been a key part of his conditioning program in the past.

Feeley replaces former strength and conditioning director Gus Felder, who was fired by Diaz on Monday.

Felder, who previously was the assistant director of strength and conditioning at Georgia, came to Miami with former coach Mark Richt in 2016.

Diaz was asked by reporters on Wednesday, after he was introduced in a news conference, what he was looking for in his strength staff.

“The best way I can say it is the old strength staff, they did an outstanding job and they improved us in the three years they were here,’’ Diaz said. “But that coach in that room is your program. The way that I knew, some of the different places I’ve been in the past, there’s some places where there’s a football program and then there’s a strength program. And they’re sort of these two things that occur at the same time.

“The way I want to run this program is there is just a program. And, because, very honestly, the kids lift weights and work out with the strength coach a lot more than they practice, with just how our calendar year is set up. So that person is vital.

“The feeling and the vibe the players get when they’re in there is vital. In creating the atmosphere where they want to go to work and they need to be pushed, it needs to be really, really hard. And there was sort of the notion that maybe we didn’t really work quite the way we needed to work this past year. That was expressed to me and that’s why I say everything matters.

“There’s never one smoking gun, but there was some things that if the players sense it, then it’s an issue.”

Feeley is from Brick, N.J., and is a 2004 graduate of Plymouth State University, where he played football.

UM has yet to announce the addition of a defensive coach, reportedly a new defensive coordinator that could be Blake Baker out of Louisiana Tech.

The Hurricanes also have yet to announce a new special teams coordinator and their new offensive staff, including an offensive coordinator.

Miami Herald sports writer Susan Miller Degnan has been the Miami Hurricanes football beat writer since 2000, the season before the Canes won it all. She has won several APSE national writing awards and has covered everything from Canes baseball to the College Football Playoff to major marathons to the Olympics.