Miami athletic director Blake James is out with the school, two days after the Hurricanes’ football team lost at Florida State.
The school, which described James’ departure as a mutual agreement to part ways, said in a statement that a national search for the next AD would begin immediately.
“It has been an honor to lead Miami athletics and to be a part of such a world-class institution,” James said in the statement. “I am proud of the work that we have done together, though I know there is still more yet to be achieved. I want to thank our University leadership, our athletics staff, our coaches, and especially our incredible student-athletes for their commitment to excellence and for believing in what the University of Miami can accomplish. I wish the Canes nothing but the best and look forward to my next endeavors.”
The move comes about six weeks after school president Julio Frenk released a letter to the university community insisting he would increase his involvement with athletics and saying that “we are fully committed to building championship-caliber teams at The U.”
Football — the biggest part of Miami’s athletic brand — has struggled again this season. Miami is 19-15 in coach Manny Diaz’s three seasons, including 5-5 this season. The Hurricanes wasted an eight-point lead in the final minutes of a 31-28 loss to Florida State on Saturday.
James was part of the decision-making group that hired Diaz in 2018, luring him away from a job at Temple that he’d held for less than a month. Diaz had been Miami’s defensive coordinator under Mark Richt, and when Richt resigned on Dec. 30, 2018, the Hurricanes needed only a few hours before completing a deal with Diaz.
James last month offered tepid support for the third-year coach, telling ESPN’s Andrea Adelson, “It’s too hard to look into the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen, again. I think everyone’s constantly being evaluated, and you make the decisions that you feel are best for the program.”
Sources told ESPN this weekend that if Miami were to fire Diaz, James would not have been the person hiring the next coach.
James accepted the Miami job in February 2013, with the Hurricanes still in the throes of the NCAA investigation into the actions of rogue former booster Nevin Shapiro. The Hurricanes got through scholarship limitations and probation that followed the Shapiro decision, and James helped the school complete a number of facilities projects — a baseball player development center, an indoor practice facility for football, a nutrition center and many more.
He’s also well regarded nationally, having served as a past chair of the NCAA Division I Council.
ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and The Associated Press contributed to this report.