Manuel said he received input from important boosters and 25 former UConn players in narrowing down the finalists. He also said Saturday that money would not be an impediment to hiring a new coach.
Terms of the deal with Diaco were not immediately released. CBS, which first reported the hiring Thursday, said Diaco would receive a five-year deal worth about $1.5 million per year.
Manuel, a former Michigan defensive end, also noted that while 27 of 31 open jobs a year ago went to coaches with experience on the offensive side of the ball, he had no such bias.
"I'm equal opportunity," he joked. "With the exception of special teams coordinator. No offense to special teams coordinators."
Manuel also said the new coach will be allowed to choose his own staff, but as athletic director, he would have veto power over those choices.
He also said that while he will have some patience with the new coach, the job comes with expectations.
"This is being done so we can start winning next year, not four years from now," he said.
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