Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed is returning to his alma mater to join Manny Diaz’s program at Miami as the team’s chief of staff, the university announced Thursday. With the hire, the team is not only capitalizing on the former star’s legacy and connection to the Canes golden years from a branding perspective, but they can also tap into Reed’s recruiting connections from the work he’s done since retirement.
Reed, who most recently served as an assistant defensive backs coach for the Buffalo Bills, had also been involved in the football scene at the youth level with Under Armour. Reed and Deion Sanders served as head coaches for the 2020 Under Armour All-America Game. That high school exposure is valuable itself, as is the era he embodies to fans in Coral Gables.
“It gives a tie back to the University’s glory days and that peak and what they’re trying to get back to,” Zach Soskin, co-founder of Voltage Management and formerly of Adidas, said. “At the same time it gives them that influence: not only is he a Miami alum but he’s a Hall of Famer. He’s the kind of guy who if he’s reaching out to players or coaches, they’ll always take that meeting, they’ll always take that call.”
Reed’s new role as the Canes’ chief of staff will be multifaceted, but it does include a role in recruiting.
“Reed will serve in an advisory role to Diaz in all aspects of the football program, including strategic planning, quality control, operations, player evaluation and player development,” Miami said in a press release. “Reed will also provide assistance in team building, student-athlete mentorship and recruiting, as permissible under NCAA rules.”
Recruiting is a space where the nine-time Pro Bowler can bring particular value, according to Soskin, who specializes in athlete marketing. Better recruits means the potential for a better team, which in turn benefits the program from branding to ticket sales, attendance to future recruiting and more. Success on the field translates to the University, financially and otherwise.
“It allows Miami to be in the game for every recruit in the country because who doesn’t want to talk to Ed Reed, right?” Soskin said. “Not only is there his playing background, but the last couple of years he’s been super involved in the grassroots world through Under Armour. He has these additional ties he’s built even after his playing career [which] increase the value he brings to Miami.”
“He is not only one of the most decorated players in Miami football history but also a devoted Cane who cares deeply about this program,” Diaz said. “All of our players, coaches and staff will be fortunate to tap into his experience, knowledge and passion on a regular basis.”
Reed also offers value to the Hurricanes that extends beyond recruiting and playing expertise, Soskin said. The Super Bowl XLVII champion is symbolic of something more.
“What [Reed] represents is huge, definitely a step in the right direction,” Soskin said. “You can’t hire every or any former great player from Miami – although they considered hiring [former Miami and NFL fullback] Alonzo Highsmith before, who has more front office and personnel experience – but I think to the current kids, Ed Reed is far more relevant and he represents an era that was great for Miami.”
The Louisiana-native played for the Hurricanes football team from 1997-2001, earning first-team All-America honors during his final two seasons in South Florida. After capping off his standout college career with a national championship in 2001, Reed, who also won a javelin title with the Hurricanes’ track and field program, was selected by the Ravens in the first round of the 2002 NFL draft.
Reed spent 11 seasons in Baltimore before finishing his career with the Houston Texans and New York Jets in 2013. The six-time All-Pro honoree was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019. He is one of two Hurricanes to have been inducted into both Halls of Fame.