Mario Cristobal hired as Miami’s head coach

Mario Cristobal works with the Defense during pre-game warmups. The Oregon Ducks take on the Utah Utes at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev., on December 3, 2021
Mario Cristobal works with the Defense during pre-game warmups. The Oregon Ducks take on the Utah Utes at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev., on December 3, 2021 Photo credit: Serei Hendrie/Daily Emerald

Welcome home, Mario Cristobal.

Oregon’s head coach, who won two National Championships as an offensive tackle at the University of Miami, has been hired and will become the Hurricanes’ 26th head coach, as announced by the university Monday afternoon.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Mario, his wife, Jessica, and their sons Mario Mateo and Rocco home to Miami,” UM President Julio Frenk said in a release Monday afternoon. “Mario’s legacy as a student-athlete at the U is well established. And the standard for competitive excellence that he and his teammates helped establish is one to which we continue to aspire. Our selection, however, was not one based in nostalgia for a proud past, but rather in a bold vision for a promising future.

“The characteristics that helped Mario excel as a national championship-winning player—drive, determination, and discipline—continue to propel his success as a coach. In Mario we have found a head coach who shares our belief in providing student-athletes with the very best opportunities to succeed on and off the field, and our commitment to winning at the highest level.”

“My family and I are excited to return home to the University of Miami, which has been so instrumental in shaping me as a person, player, and coach,” Cristobal said in the same release. “This program has an unparalleled tradition and an exciting future ahead of it. I can’t wait to compete for championships and help mold our student-athletes into leaders on and off the field who will make our University, our community, and our loyal fan base proud.”

Cristobal replaces Manny Diaz, who was hired as head coach in 2019 after spending three years as defensive coordinator for the Canes. Diaz was fired Monday morning. Despite the obvious reports that Cristobal would be coming to Miami, Diaz continued with his duties as head coach – including landing a 4-star defensive lineman – until it was officially announced.

Cristobal has been the head coach of the Ducks since the 2018 season. In 2019, his second season, Cristobal was voted Pac-12 Coach of the Year after going 11-2 in the regular season and earning a trip to the Rose Bowl.

Before Oregon, Cristobal was an assistant head coach at Alabama for four seasons under Nick Saban, where he won a CFP National Championship. He was named National Recruiter of the Year by 247Sports in 2015 and led one of the best offensive lines in the country during his time there.

Cristobal’s first head coaching job was at Florida International University, where he led the Panthers from 2007 to 2012. He was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year in 2010 after leading FIU to its first Sun Belt Conference championship and bowl win over MAC champion Toledo.

As a player for the Hurricanes from 1988 to 1992, Cristobal won two national championships (1989 and 1991) and earned First Team All-Big East Conference as an offensive tackle in 1992. He graduated from Miami in ’93 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and later earned a master’s degree from Miami in 2001.

Cristobal served as a graduate assistant under former UM head coach Butch Davis from 1998 to 2000 before serving as the tight ends and offensive line coach at Rutgers under Greg Schiano for two years. He returned to Miami under Larry Coker as tight ends and offensive line coach from ’04 to ’06.

Cristobal grew up in Miami and attended Christopher Columbus High School.

This story will continue to be updated.