Kirk Herbstreit talked to Mario Cristobal in October about being Miami head coach

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 07: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 07: (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Speaking with reporters via zoom on Monday, ESPN lead college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit spoke about a conversation he had with Mario Cristobal in late October about the potential of becoming Miami head coach. Speculation about the Miami head coaching job opening happened after the Hurricanes began the season 2-4.

Led by former head coach Manny Diaz, Miami finished the season with five wins in six games but that was not enough to save Diaz’s job. A 31-28 loss at Florida State was probably the last event that led to Diaz being fired. A poor 2022 recruiting class also contributed. Momentum began to build for Mario Cristobal in November.

The conversation between Herbstreit and Cristobal was revealing. Cristobal seemed to be thinking about the possibility of becoming the Miami head coach while still at Oregon. Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald reported that Herbstreit stated he has a “friendly relationship.” Their paths could cross more often in the future.

With Mario Cristobal as the Miami head coach, the expectation will be that the Hurricanes will have more national television appearances. Herbstreit and Chris Fowler are the announcing team for the ABC College Football National Game of the Week. Herbstreit worked a couple of Oregon games and spoke to Cristobal privately.

"“Hey, dude, by the way, this whole Miami thing that’s going on, is that a possibility? I know you’re at Oregon and everything. He’s like, ‘Ahhhh…We’ll talk about that later.’ So, he didn’t say, ‘No.’ He just kind of said, ‘Yeah, maybe that’s something we can talk about later.’ So it made me think at that time, ‘Hmmm. Maybe…. maybe.’And then the coaching carousel got wacky and of course he ended up going back home. Find more sports news, plus coverage from Sports Illustrated. I’m excited for him. Nobody knows it better than a guy that lived it. Nobody knows that brotherhood, which is unique and strong, like he does.So, as much as I am a fan of Manny — I think Manny is going to do a great job at Penn State [as the new defensive coordinator] — you can’t make up for a guy that is part of the program and played on great teams.So, yes, not to take anything away from Manny, but because of who’s coaching and because of his life and where he grew up and where he played, he’s at his alma mater. So I’m excited for him and for the program, especially if they back him with finances and give him a chance.”“A lot of calls…and people on the board [of trustees]. And when the dust settled…yeah, I did get a lot of people that reached out and as you say thanked me for what I said. If it helped propel change in a positive way, especially when it comes to funding, then that’s a great thing.But I’m definitely not one to say, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s because I said [so-and-so].’"

Herbstreit made comments in September that there was a lack of unity in the vision for the Miami football program from Diaz, University President Julio Frenk and former athletic director Blake James. James was fired in November and ultimately replaced with Clemson AD Dan Radakovich a few days after Cristobol was hired.

There has been some analysis that Cristobal and Radakovich will form one of the highest-powered football head coaches and AD tandems. Herbstreit spoke to James following his comments. The hiring of Cristobal will increase the national profile for Miami, particularly in recruiting. Expect more alums to be involved in the program.

Miami plays at Texas A&M on September 17 and at Clemson with a date to be announced. Both games are candidates to be played on ABC Saturday night football. Miami played on ABC primetime three times during the 2020 season. The Hurricanes received criticism for how Mario Cristobal was hired.

Next. Kirk Herbstreit spoke with UM administrators and Mario Cristobal. dark

Diaz was not fired until a few hours before Cristobal was announced as head coach. It was a poor open secret that Cristobal was being pursued as Miami head coach. If Cristobal wins, the criticism about how he was hired will be in the past. Miami will return at least 13 starters entering the 2022 season.