ATHENS — On the second page of three-page incident report released by UGA Police Tuesday, under a heading marked “reporting party” in all capital letters, is the listed the name “Diaz, Manuel.”
Diaz is, of course, the ultra successful of the men’s tennis program at the University of Georgia. And he confirmed to DawgNation on Tuesday that he is indeed the official whistle-blower in a case that has the university investigating the alleged theft and/or mishandlings of drugs within tennis program.
“Yes I did; that’s true,” Diaz said when asked if he was the one who brought the alleged crime to the attention of police. “I reported it to (Athletic Director) Greg (McGarity) because I thought it was the right thing to do. That’s it.”
Diaz declined further comment. He was approached Tuesday morning at the NCAA tennis scoring headquarters in the middle of UGA’s vast Dan Magill Tennis Complex on South Campus.
McGarity also declined comment.
Diaz is one of the most successful coaches in the history of college tennis. A two-time All-American as a player at UGA, he has been a part of all six of Georgia’s team national championships. The Bulldogs have won an SEC championship in 28 of his 29 seasons as head coach, including both the regular season and conference championships this year.
UGA is serving as host of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships over the next 10 days. Both Georgia’s No. 5-ranked women’s tennis team and its 12th-ranked men’s team are participating in the quarterfinals of the team competition, which gets under way Thursday.
No names of suspects were mentioned in the preliminary incident report that was released Tuesday morning. However, Diaz’s top assistant, associate head coach Bo Hodge, and the top assistant in the women’s program, Drake Bernstein, have been suspended and did not participate during the teams’ first- and second-round matches. Both programs brought in temporary assistant coaches or elevated graduate and volunteer coaches to fulfill those duties during the tournament.
During his pre-tournament media briefing on Tuesday, women’s head coach Jeff Wallace was asked if the controversy was a distraction as the fifth-seeded Lady Dogs prepare to play 12th-seeded Pepperdine on Friday at 4 p.m.
“You know, I’m really just not even comment on that right now,” Wallace said. “Our focus is this tournament and I think this team is doing some great things.”
All-SEC senior Carolina Brinson also dodged the issue.
“Like Coach said, I’m not in the place to comment on that right now,” she said. “As far as the team goes, we’re feeling really good and everyone is excited for this tournament.”
The 13th-seeded men’s team (20-7) will considered the underdog when it faces off against No. 4 seed Southern Cal (27-5) on Thursday at 4 p.m. on the Henry Feild Stadium courts.