Mario Cristobal is the only new head coach in the ACC with previous experience. All of the new head coaches in the ACC for 2022 are in the ACC Coastal Division. Duke hired Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko, Virginia, Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott and Virginia Tech, Penn State DC Brent Pry.
Mario Cristobal is entering his 10th season as a college head coach with a 62-60 record. From 2007 through 2012, Cristobal was 27–47 at Florida International. During the last four seasons at Oregon Cristobal was 35-13. Cristobal was the OC at Oregon before being hired as head coach prior to the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl.
Elko has been a college football coach since 1999 and DC since 2006. After being the DC at FCS Hofstra from 2006 through 2008 Elko was hired at Bowling Green. Elko was the DC at Bowling Green through 2013 before being hired at Wake Forest. Notre Dame hired Elko as the DC for the 2017 season.
Elko spent the last four seasons at Texas A&M under Jimbo Fisher. The hiring of Elko by Duke allows him to return to the ACC. The familiarity should help him assimilate to his first job as a head coach. Under Elko, Texas A&M was nationally allowing 15.9 points per game in 2021. The Aggies were 14th allowing 327.5 yards per game.
Tony Elliott played wide receiver at Clemson from 2000 through 2003 before returning there as the running backs coach in 2011. Elliott was elevated to Co-OC in 2015. In 2020 Elliott became the sole Clemson OC when Jeff Scott was hired as head coach at South Florida. Clemson struggled offensively in 2021.
The Tigers finished 82nd averaging 26.3 PPG and 99th with 359.2 yards per game. Virginia was 21st at 34.6 PPG and third at 516.3 yards per game. Miami lost 30-28 to Virginia last season. The Hurricanes play at Virginia this season for the first time since 2018. Miami also plays at Clemson for the second time in three seasons.
Pry has been a college football coach since 1992. This is the second stint for Pry at Virginia Tech. Pry was a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech from 1995 through 1997. Pry was the DC at Louisiana Lafayette from 2006 through 2006 and Georgia Southern in 2010 before being hired at Vanderbilt.
Penn State head coach James Franklin and Pry have over 30 years of history. Pry went with Franklin to Penn State where he was the Co-DC in 2014 and ’15 and the DC since 2016. Penn State was sixth allowing 17.3 PPG in 2021. The Nittany Lions were 36th allowing 353.6 yards per game.
Miami enters the 2022 season with two-game winning streaks against Duke and Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes have won four of the last five against the Hokies. Mario Cristobal enters the ACC at a good time with so much change occurring in the conference. The experience Cristobal gives Miami an advantage, at least in the short term.