Manny Diaz says Duke basketball team must be 'tougher'

New Blue Devil football coach, Manny Diaz, said the Duke basketball team has to be 'tougher' in its future games.
Charlotte v Duke
Charlotte v Duke / Lance King/GettyImages

The new Duke football coach already has a message for the Duke basketball team; be tougher.

Manny Diaz was introduced as the new leader of the Blue Devils on Saturday afternoon and following his press conference he strolled over to Cameron Indoor Stadium to see Duke, looking to snap a two-game losing streak, against Charlotte.

Diaz hit a free throw for charity, cheered with the Cameron Crazies, and visited the Blue Devil locker room following the 80-56 victory.

Jon Scheyer asked the former Penn State defensive coordinator and Miami (FL) head coach to provide a message to the Blue Devils and he did not disappoint.

"I always say the game honors toughness," Diaz began. "I understand what toughness looks like and the tougher team normally wins."

Duke certainly showed that toughness against the 49ers and followed it up on Tuesday night against a very good Hofstra program, which led late in the first half in Durham, but eventually fell by 22 points because of an outstanding second half by the Blue Devils.

Manny Diaz will be looking to keep the toughness that had already been instilled in the Duke football program by former head coach Mike Elko, who navigated the way to back-to-back bowl games for the Blue Devils, something that has not been done since the 2017 and 2018 seasons.

"You have a room full of people who are football fans," Jon Scheyer said to Diaz while pointing to the basketball team. "These guys are always front row [at football games]."

"This is a family," Scheyer continued. "Our football program is lucky to have you and I want you to know how excited we all are. We will be there supporting. Let's go Duke football, let's go Duke basketball."

Manny Diaz will not be the head coach when Duke concludes its season in the Birmingham Bowl against Troy on December 23, but will be calling the shots when the Blue Devils open the 2024 season.

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