Bob Diaco to replace Mark Banker as Nebraska defensive coordinator
It took Bob Diaco 20 years to get back to his B1G roots. But two decades later, the former Iowa linebacker and graduate assistant is reportedly coming back to the B1G.
This time, however, it’ll be for Iowa’s rival.
Former UConn coach Bob Diaco is set to become Nebraska’s new defensive coordinator. The Huskers made that official on Saturday.
They reportedly agreed on a two-year contract for $1.7 million, making him the highest-paid assistant in Nebraska history.
Bob Diaco has 2-year contract. Salary? 825K the first year, 875K the second. #Huskers went all in on him.
— Brian Christopherson (@HuskerExtraBC) January 14, 2017
Diaco was fired in December after three years at UConn, where he finished with a 11-26 record. The 43-year-old defensive coordinator boosted his stock as the Notre Dame defensive coordinator for four years, including the Irish’s national runner-up season in 2012. That won him the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant.
He’ll replace Mark Banker, who was at Nebraska for two years.
Banker had been on Mike Riley’s well before the two came to Nebraska. They worked together for 20 years, but apparently that didn’t make for a typical breakup.
Banker told the World-Herald that he was unaware that he wasn’t coming back as defensive coordinator on Wednesday, and that he got a call from Riley when he was in the Denver airport on his way to visit a recruit.
“That’s just disappointing, that it’d be a phone call and not face-to-face,” Banker said in an interview with the World-Herald. “That’s a weird way to approach things. And you can say that it’s hard, but if it’s hard on him then it’s hard on my end. But that’s what you got to do, do it (face-to-face). Be grown men about it. It’s a communication thing. Let’s just be good communicators.”
According to Banker, the reason he was fired — his contract was up at the end of January — was the Iowa and Ohio State blowout losses, as well as Nebraska’s Music City Bowl showing.
Diaco’s job will be to turn those big-game letdowns around. Though his record at UConn wasn’t good, he did have the nation’s No. 15 defense in 2015, which produced his only bowl berth during his three-year run.
He’ll come to Lincoln in hopes of establishing a new defensive culture:
New #Huskers DC Bob Diaco had one defense from 2009-13 ranked worse than 44th in scoring D.
4 of Nebraska's last 5 ranked 50th or worse.
— Kevin Kugler (@kevinkugler) January 14, 2017
Defensive struggles plagued Nebraska in crucial games at the end of the Bo Pelini era and in the beginning of the Riley era. The Huskers lost three of the last four Heroes Game trophies to Iowa — Diaco’s alma mater — and allowed 35 points per contest.
Diaco will have his chance to put his stamp on a new, established rivalry. The college football world learned about his passion for rivalry games after Scott Frost — former Nebraska quarterback — led UCF to a win against Diaco’s UConn squad, but didn’t accept the conFLiCT Trophy.
That sparked an interesting rant from Diaco:
In other words, the Blackshirts shouldn’t lack fire in 2017.