Just 24 hours after the Miami Athletic Department said they would conduct a national search for Manny Diaz’s replacement as Defensive Coordinator the Miami football team promoted Ephraim Banda and Jonathan Patke to Co-Defensive Coordinators.
The move was surprising after the press release on Thursday announcing that a National Search would take place for Diaz’s successor. Banda has been the Safeties Coach for the Miami Football team since Mark Richt was hired as Head Coach in December 2015. Patke has been on the Miami Coaching staff since 2016.
In addition to Banda and Patke’s promotions, Defensive Line Coach Jess Simpson who has been on the Miami Football staff for less than a year was promoted to Associate Head Coach. Patke joined the Hurricanes as a defensive quality control analyst and was promoted to outside linebackers coach in the 2017 offseason.
Patke’s promotion last year came when the NCAA increased the number of assistant coaches that football staffs were allowed to have from eight to nine. Banda’s promotion was not nearly as much of as a surprise as Patke’s. Banda and Patke joined the Miami staff after working with Diaz at Texas and Mississippi State.
Banda is just four seasons removed from being a graduate assistant coach. He was a graduate assistant at Texas from 2012-15. According to Banda’s official Miami Athletic Department bio, his responsibilities at Texas included “scripting practices and organizing scouting reports to assisting with the defensive backs.”
Banda joined Diaz’s defensive staff at Mississippi State for the 2015 season as a Defensive Quality Control Assistant. He was hired as the Safeties Coach at Miami for the 2016 season after Mark Richt hired Diaz as the Defensive Coordinator. Banda played college football and graduated from Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
Patke played linebacker at Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas from 2004-08, starting his final three seasons. He was on the staff at Incarnate Word with Banda. Patke received as Master Degree in Sports Administration from Incarnate Word after joining their coaching staff there in 2011.
“Our defensive unit is coming off an outstanding season and Coach Banda, Coach Patke and Coach Simpson were instrumental figures to that success.
“Coach Banda and Coach Patke are both terrific teachers, motivators and recruiters, and I’m confident the determination and energy they bring to this program every day will help them continue to thrive in their new roles.
“In addition, Coach Simpson did a remarkable job with our defensive front this season. He is an excellent teacher, motivator and technician, and I’m excited to elevate him to Associate Head Coach. Being a long-time head coach himself, Coach Simpson can also assist me with big picture initiatives for our program.
“All of these coaches are men of high character who not only know our defensive terminology and standards, but who will keep our players competing at a high level. I am committed to continuing the legacy of great defense here at the University of Miami and I am confident these moves will ensure that success going forward.”
The promotions of Banda, Patke and Simpson helps the Miami football staff maintain continuity. With the lack of experience that Banda, Patke and Simpson have at the FBS level there are some questions behind the motives from promoting from within instead of conducted the national search that was discussed.
Banda just finished his third season as a position coach in FBS while Patke and Simpson just finished their first. Simpson did spend the 2017 season as an Assistant Defensive Line Coach with the Atlanta Falcons.
Manny Navaro who covers the Miami Hurricanes for Athletic sent out a Tweet that stated he is “Convinced this decision was all about the recruits.” Navarro also mentioned that he thought the promotions could have partially been done to placate recruits. Miami has critical early National Signing day coming up Wednesday.