Mario Manuel Cristobal (born September 24, 1970) is an American football coach and former player. He is the head football coach at the University of Oregon, serving in that position since December 2017. Cristobal was previously the head football coach at Florida International University (FIU) from 2007 to 2012. He was an all-conference offensive tackle on the Miami Hurricanes football team that won national championships in 1989 and 1991.
Cristobal as FIU head coach in 2011
|Born||September 24, 1970|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1998–2000||Miami (FL) (GA)|
|2004–2005||Miami (FL) (TE)|
|2006||Miami (FL) (OL)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|1 Sun Belt (2010)|
|Sun Belt Coach of the Year (2010)|
247Sports National Recruiter of the Year (2015)
High school careerEdit
A four-year letterman with the University of Miami Hurricanes football team between 1988 and 1992, Cristobal played for Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson. During his four seasons, the Hurricanes won two national championships (1989 and 1991) and in 1992 he earned First-Team All-Big East Conference as an offensive tackle. He graduated from Miami in 1993 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and later earned a master's degree from Miami in 2001.
Following his college playing career, Cristobal signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos in 1994 as an undrafted free agent. He played for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1995 and 1996 before retiring to pursue a coaching career.
Cristobal's coaching career began at Miami where he served as a graduate assistant under Butch Davis from 1998 to 2000. From 2001 to 2003, Cristobal was the tight ends and offensive line coach at Rutgers University under Greg Schiano. He returned to Miami to serve as tight ends coach and offensive line coach under Larry Coker for three seasons from 2004 to 2006.
On December 19, 2006, Cristobal was named the second head coach in FIU's history. At 36 years old, he became the first Cuban-American head coach in Division I-A.
Cristobal inherited a team with a winless record the previous season. He implemented a spread offense, and stated that he expected FIU to achieve success "faster than what we did at Rutgers", a process which "took five years".
FIU struggled for most of his first season as head coach, losing their first eleven games. However, on December 1, the Golden Panthers finally broke a Football Bowl Subdivision-leading 23-game losing skid with a 38–19 victory over North Texas.
His second season showed definite signs of improvement. After three back-to-back, out-of-conference losses to Kansas, Iowa and USF, the Golden Panthers under Cristobal pulled together an upset win against MAC opponent Toledo. The team used this momentum to build a three-game winning streak, defeating Sun Belt Conference opponents North Texas and MTSU before it continued on to finish with a 5–7 record. The team was two wins away from a bowl game before falling out of contention in the 2008 Shula Bowl against in-state rivals FAU in a 57–50 OT loss, before finishing its season with an at-home victory over Western Kentucky.
The third season under Cristobal came with high expectations after winning five games the previous year. The team regressed under his leadership and took a step back going 3–9 overall, with wins coming against North Texas, WKU, and Louisiana-Lafayette. During the off-season recruiting period, Cristobal was able to secure FIU's first ESPN 150 player, Willis Wright, from nearby Miami Springs High, the same school that produced T. Y. Hilton.
After being predicted to finish sixth in the conference in the preseason by the Sun Belt Writers Association, Cristobal led his young Panthers team to their first Sun Belt Conference championship after four years at the helm. FIU, who had never had a winning season prior to the 2010 campaign, saw themselves atop the conference tied with Troy University who shared a similar 6–2 conference record. FIU did win their head-to-head matchup with Troy, 52–35. At the conclusion of the season FIU was selected to participate in their first bowl game, the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. They won with a field goal in the closing seconds against Toledo, 34–32, after Toledo went for a two-point conversion to take the lead, 32–31. That win gave them a 7–6 record, their first ever winning record.
Cristobal carries a reputation of being an excellent recruiter, setting up for his third season at FIU by putting together an impressive recruiting class of 23 student athletes, at least 20 of them from Florida. He wears a customary shirt and tie along with dress pants for each and every game to honor his idol, Joe Paterno. He was also named the fittest coach currently in the FBS according to an ESPN blog to which he confirmed on The Dan Le Batard Show on May 29, 2009. As of the 2009 season Mario Cristobal has retired the "shirt-and-tie" look and has opted to wear traditional collared shirts during games.
On December 5, 2012, Cristobal was relieved of his position as head coach of the FIU football program. FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia explained his reasoning for firing Cristobal as "He's done a very good job for this program, but we’ve gone backwards over the last year and a half. Over the last 22 games, we've gone 8-14." The decision by Garcia was heavily criticized for its rashness.
After his unexpected dismissal as head coach at FIU, Cristobal was hired by Miami to serve as associate head coach and tight ends coach on January 10, 2013. Six weeks later, he was hired by Nick Saban to become Alabama's assistant head coach, offensive line coach, and recruiting coordinator.
Cristobal was an elite recruiter at Alabama, finishing No. 1 in the national 247Sports composite rankings in each of his four seasons. He was named the National Recruiter of the Year by 247Sports in the 2015 cycle and in 2016 he was ranked as the nation’s No. 2 recruiter in the country by 247Sports.
Cristobal’s Alabama offensive line was awarded as the nations best in 2015, winning the inaugural Joe Moore Award given to the toughest, most physical line in the nation. His offensive line ranked in the top 25 nationally in sacks allowed in each of his first two seasons. Alabama’s offensive lines produced standout players and NFL draft picks under Cristobal, including first-team All-American and 2015 first-round draft pick Ryan Kelly and 2014 freshman All-American Cam Robinson, who went on to win the Outland Trophy in Cristobal’s final year with Alabama.
In January 2017, Cristobal joined Willie Taggart's staff at Oregon as offensive line coach, with additional duties as co-offensive coordinator (shared with quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo) and run game coordinator (along with running backs coach Donte Pimpleton). On December 5, 2017, he was given the title of interim head coach upon Willie Taggart's departure to Florida State; then, three days later, on Friday, December 8, 2017, Cristobal was officially announced as permanent head coach of the Ducks.
Head coaching recordEdit
|FIU Golden Panthers / Panthers (Sun Belt Conference) (2007–2012)|
|2010||FIU||7–6||6–2||T–1st||W Little Caesars Pizza|
|2011||FIU||8–5||5–3||4th||L Beef 'O' Brady's|
|Oregon Ducks (Pac-12 Conference) (2017–present)|
|2017||Oregon||0–1||L Las Vegas|
|2018||Oregon||9–4||5–4||4th (North)||W Redbox|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title or championship game berth|
Notable head coaches under whom Mario Cristobal has served:
- Butch Davis: Miami (1998–2000)
- Greg Schiano: Rutgers (2001–2003)
- Nick Saban: Alabama (2013–2016)
- Willie Taggart: Oregon (2017)
Assistant coaches under Mario Cristobal who became NCAA head coaches:
- "Football Announces Hiring of Mario Cristobal - Alabama Athletics". Alabama Athletics. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- "MiamiHerald.com - 12/20/2006 - 'A dream come true' for new FIU coach". Archive.org. January 14, 2007. Archived from the original on January 14, 2007. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- "Mario Cristobal Q & A Part 3 - FIU Panthers Prowl". MiamiHerald.Typepad.com. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- 404 Page Not Found[dead link]
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 4, 2009. Retrieved August 4, 2009.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
- David J. Neal, FIU fires football coach Cristobal, The Miami Herald, December 6, 2012, accessed December 11, 2012.
- Greg Cote, Greg Cote: FIU’s decision to fire Mario Cristobal impatient, unfair, The Miami Herald, December 6, 2012, accessed December 11, 2012.
- Tim Rohan, When Best Still Isn’t Good Enough, The New York Times, December 5, 2012, accessed December 11, 2012.
- David Moulton, David Moulton: Thoughts on the college football coaching landscape and more, Naples Daily News, December 11, 2012, accessed December 11, 2012.
- "UM Hires Mario Cristobal As Associate Head Coach". CBSLocal.com. January 10, 2013. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- Goodbread, Chase (February 18, 2013). "Alabama hires Mario Cristobal as offensive line coach". The Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- "Bruce Feldman on Mario Cristobal: 'Not sure there's a better recruiter in the country, anywhere'". DieHards.com. December 8, 2017. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- "Oregon hires Mario Cristobal as new head coach". SI.com. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- "GoDucks.com - The University of Oregon Official Athletics". www.GoDucks.com. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- "Ducks to hire Mario Cristobal as their new co-offensive coordinator". 247Sports.com. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- "Canzano: Oregon Ducks coach Mario Cristobal's first day was a score". OregonLive.com. Retrieved December 9, 2017.