Miami hires Mario Cristobal: hurricanes make a brazen move to lure Oregon coaches home, but will it work?

Oregon’s manager Mario Cristobal has agreed to return home and run Miami. Cristobal told the Ducks in a team briefing Monday that he was going to go to train his alma mater, sources said Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports.

Cristobal takes over the job in Miami, replacing Manny Diaz, who was laid off Monday morning after three seasons at the top of the canes. Cristobal, who won two national championships as a player in Miami between 1989 and 92, was 35-13 (23-10 Pac-12) in four seasons at the top of Oregon. Diaz finished 21-15 (16-9 ACC) but won five of his last six games that season.

Cristobal’s attitude comes at a turbulent time for both the coach himself and the Hurricanes. Miami’s negotiations with Cristobal became extremely public for an extended period over the weekend, although Diaz is still on the team.

Miami is also trying to hire Clemson’s sporting director Dan Radakovich, a UM graduate who allegedly waited for the Canes to snap up Cristobal before agreeing to leave the Tigers himself. Miami has not announced either Cristobal or Radakovich at the time.

Cristobal’s job will be to help the hurricanes get out of mediocrity. The Canes have only had one season of double-digit wins since joining the ACC in 2003. Miami clearly believes in Cristobal as it decided to pay more than $ 12 million together to buy out its contract from Oregon and Diaz ‘ End deal.

the Miami Herald reports that Miami will pay Cristobal more than $ 8 million a year and have made additional financial commitments to support the football program as a whole.

Miami entered the 2021 season and is considered a top contender in the ACC Coastal; However, a catastrophic 2-4 start destroyed his chances to fight for the championship title and national importance. The Canes won five of their last six games, a stretch that included victories over ranked enemies NC State and Pittsburgh, when Diaz finally identified a star quarterback in Tyler Van Dyke.

Those wins, and the team’s determination after a difficult start, suggested that Diaz might get another season as Miami coach. But with the sacking of Sporting Director Blake James, Diaz’s future was put into question.

Originally from Miami, Cristobal spent six seasons coaching the FIU before working under Nick Saban in Alabama from 2013 to 2016. He served as Oregon offensive coordinator for a season before replacing Willie Taggart as coach. Cristobal previously worked as an assistant at Miami under Larry Coker from 2004-06.

In addition to his obvious university connections as an alumnus, Cristobal’s mother lives in South Florida. She is struggling with an extended illness, and Cristobal had traveled to the area frequently from Eugene, Oregon in what was a 6,400-mile round trip.

Miami’s big game of chance

I’m trying to pull off a change in sports director and a simultaneous change of coach is a bold move and the canes should expect ridicule for the way they treated Diaz. However, if everything works out and Miami regains its prominence in a mediocre ACC, no one will remember the process, only the results. However, should that fail, the canes receive an epic amount of blowback and endless mockery for their sloppy handling of the situation.

Diaz showed he still has his team’s pulse in the second half of the 2021 season and the canes never bottomed out under his leadership. On the flip side, Cristobal is just 11-6 in his last 17 games in Oregon, and his offenses aren’t exactly the most fan-friendly. Cristobal’s tenure ended in a 38-10 loss to Utah in the 2021 Pac-12 championship game, just two weeks after the Ducks were similarly dismantled by the Utes at 38-7 in Salt Lake City.

Cristobal is a former offensive lineman, and while he was a player in the Miami program during the Bragging Days, he’s not a particularly noticeable coach. Like Diaz, however, he’s a Miami guy who is connected to the community in a way that few other coaches are with their respective universities.

No long-term guarantees

Nobody has held the job in Miami more than seven seasons since Andy Gustafson had the 1948-63 gig. The program’s last two coaches only lasted three years, and none of the last four made it over five full seasons. Cristobal, as a prominent former player, does not guarantee that he will bring stability to a program that it desperately needs.

Diaz is from the city of Miami and was the program’s defensive coordinator before getting the head coach job. Prior to Diaz’s tenure, former UM QB Mark Richt coached only three seasons after a long career at Georgia. Another of the program’s relatively young coaches, Randy Shannon, was also a former player and defensive coordinator who didn’t work well in the long run.

While Cristobal’s connection to a great era in the program’s history may add to season ticket sales, it doesn’t necessarily add comfort to the program’s long-term stability. This is especially true given the strange circumstances under which he was hired.

Where hope for Miami lies is the reported investment in the football program as a whole. Canes’ facilities lag well behind many top 25 programs, and their lack of on-campus stadiums has long been a problem. However, there are tons of talent for Cristobal – a senior recruiter – to scout in South Florida (and across the state). If Cristobal can land high profile recruiting courses, that, coupled with the supposed increased investment in the team and a potential major AD leading the effort, gives cause for optimism.

Another important job opens

Did you think the coaching carousel was as good as finished? Think again Cristobal’s decision to leave Oregon opens the best job in the Pac-12 North, and now the top three jobs in the league will have changed hands in the same cycle. With Lincoln Riley leaving Oklahoma for USC, Kalen DeBoer replacing Jimmy Lake in Washington and Oregon starting over, it will be some kind of clean slate for next season’s conference.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This season, the Pac-12 has failed to make a team into the College Football Playoffs five times in a row. Oregon hasn’t made it since the CFP’s inaugural season in 2014, and USC has never played in the CFP. Utah is in a stable position under 17th year coach Kyle Whittingham, but the Pac-12 needs some fresh energy. Maybe this change of coach will bring it to life.

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