The hiring of Mario Cristobal as their new head coach by the Miami football program was the second-best in 2021 per The Bleacher Report. Cristobal ranks behind USC hiring Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma and LSU poaching Brian Kelly from Notre Dame. Bleacher Report ranked all 28 new coaching hires.
Miami hiring Mario Cristobal was the first time since 1989 the Hurricanes hired a head coach away from another Power Five program. Dennis Erickson left Washington State to take over the Miami football program with a national championship roster. Mark Richt came to Miami in 2015 after being fired by Georgia.
Cristobal is the biggest hire by Miami in program history. None of the other coaching hires in the history of the Miami football program move to Coral Gables with the resume that Cristobal has. Cristobal is 62-60 overall as a head coach but was 35-13 in four-plus seasons at Oregon. Cristobal began his coaching career at FIU.
The 2021 head coaching class will be one that is analyzed and judged together throughout their tenures. Seeing three high-profile head coaches like Cristobal, Kelly and Riley move from one Power Five program to another is extremely rare. Bleacher Report summarized Cristobal’s tenure at Oregon.
“One side of the coin says Mario Cristobal’s coaching left a little to be desired at Oregon, where he always had good teams but could never get the Ducks to win enough to be among the nation’s elite. But he was a relentless recruiter who did as well in that area as any coach in the nation.
Now, Cristobal heads home to Miami, where he’s from and where he played. His family is still there, and he pillaged the area for recruits when he was an assistant at Alabama under Nick Saban.
Cristobal is a perfect fit for the Hurricanes, which is why they had to make the hire, even though they embarrassingly courted the Ducks coach while they still had Manny Diaz at the helm. Getting Cristobal and Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich in the fold makes them huge winners, though.
Getting back to being “The U” is important for the ‘Canes, who have looked like they could do so for glimpses under Mark Richt and Diaz, only to fall. Cristobal will keep elite South Florida talent at home. He immediately makes things difficult on Kirby Smart, Saban and Jimbo Fisher, who have plucked players from that area.
He can battle Dabo Swinney for the top spot in the ACC year after year. Does the 51-year-old have Kelly’s record? No. But he’s a favorite son who is still young and has limitless potential in the perfect spot. This one could hit big.”
Cristobal returning to his Miami roots will make it easier for him to recruit. At Oregon, Cristobal had to get on an airplane and travel a few hours to meet recruits or see them play. At Miami, he will reside in the best metropolitan area in the country for high school football talent. Cristobal has already made an impact in recruiting.
Miami signed four-star defensive end Nyjlaik Kelly after Cristobal was hired. The Hurricanes flipped four-star tight end, Jaleel Skinner, from Alabama two days later. With National Signing Day less than five weeks away, more players will be signed to National Letters of Intent by Miami that would not have been without Cristobal.