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Blake James out as Miami athletic director

Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; A general view of a Miami Hurricanes helmet in the end zone prior to the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Virginia Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; A general view of a Miami Hurricanes helmet in the end zone prior to the game between the Miami Hurricanes and the Virginia Cavaliers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Blake James was fired Monday as athletic director at Miami (Fla.) on Monday after eight years in the position.

In a release, Miami said the school and James “mutually agreed to part ways,” but the Miami Herald reported the decision was made by university president Julio Frenk.

The university said a national search for a new athletic director will begin immediately. Jennifer Strawley, Miami’s deputy athletic director, will serve as interim AD.

James served in multiple leadership roles in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA, earning “national recognition from his peers,” the release said.

“It has been an honor to lead Miami athletics and to be a part of such a world-class institution,” James said. “I am proud of the work that we have done together, though I know there is still more yet to be achieved.”

Under James, who took over as AD in 2013, Miami won five NCAA individual championships, six ACC team titles and 71 individual ACC titles.

“I want to thank Blake for his years of service to the University of Miami,” Frenk said. “Paired with The U’s storied history in intercollegiate sports, the enhancements Blake championed — in areas ranging from student-athlete support and academic achievement to community outreach and facility upgrades — give us a solid foundation on which to build.”

James was fired two days after Miami dropped a heartbreaker to Florida State in football, 31-28, as Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis scored on a 1-yard run with 26 seconds remaining.

Fans have voiced their displeasure with the school’s football program and have been highly critical of James.

University administrators — or perhaps the new AD, if hired quickly enough — must decide whether to retain Manny Diaz, who was named head football coach following the 2018 season upon the unexpected retirement of Mark Richt.

Diaz had been the defensive coordinator under Richt and accepted the head-coaching job at Temple – prompting James to move quickly to name him head coach.

Miami paid a $4 million buyout to bring him back less than three weeks after he departed.

The Hurricanes are 19-15 under Diaz, who was hired to make Miami a national championship contender again.

Under Diaz, the Hurricanes finished 6-7 in 2019 and 8-3 in 2020, and they have a 5-5 (3-3 Athletic Coast Conference) record this season.

–Field Level Media