It's official. Rob Mullens and the search committee have named Mario Cristobal the next head coach of Oregon Football, removing the interim tag placed on him less than a week ago.
Cristobal, who was Oregon's co-offensive coordinator this season, gives the Ducks a stabilizing force in a time of chaos, a well-respected coach the players love and keeps one of the nation's top recruiters in Eugene. Oh, and he is a pretty darn good coach.
While Google searches will run rampant today for Cristobal, as Duck fans seek out more information on their new coach, here are five things you need to know about Mario Cristobal.
He has Head coaching Experience
Cristobal was head coach at Florida International University for six seasons, from 2007-2012. His combined record over six seasons was 27-47, but that's only part of the story. FIU only became a DI program two years prior to his hiring and lacked the normal resources of a solid DI program.
His first three seasons, FIU was 9-27, however, in his final three seasons his team went 18-20, made the only two bowl appearances in school history and tied for first in the Sun Belt Conference.
Cristobal established his vision at FIU, took time building the program, recruited hard, coached up his players and ultimately had a great deal of success.
The Current Players and Recruits Love Him
In case you're not on Twitter, both current Oregon Football players and future Oregon Football players have been using the hashtag #cristobALLIN over the past few days. The amount of support from the current roster was impressive and surely had an impact of Mullens hiring Cristobal, but equally as important the top-five ranked recruiting class was strongly voicing their support for moving Cristobal into the top spot.
Cristobal has been named the top recruiter in the country twice and clearly he spearheaded Oregon's efforts this year - which should lead to the best recruiting class in Oregon history.
Support from current and future players, including more than 70 players signing a petition to have Cristobal be named head coach, shows their belief in their new head coach, the University of Oregon and ultimately the future of this team.
Had an 70+ players signed petition to keep Cristobal as head coach— Tyrell Crosby (@Tyrellcrosby) December 8, 2017
In the Trenches He Trusts
As a former offensive line at the University of Miami, as well as playing a bit of pro ball in NFL Europe, Cristobal understands the need for both a strong offensive and defensive line. He's coached the offensive line throughout his entire coaching career and you can be he'll continue to support the trenches in a big way.
In case you're wondering, Cristobal has coached multiple NFL offensive line, including first-round draft pick Ryan Kelly and second-round draft pick Cam Robinson. It's no surprise that the Oregon offensive line took a big step forward this past season, as well, with guys like Tyrell Crosby (who's sure to be drafted into the NFL), Jake Hanson and Calvin Throckmorton raking in some seasonal honors.
In addition, While Oregon's been able to lure some big-time wide receiver and running back talent to Eugene, now seems like the perfect time to start getting some of the top offensive and defensive line talent to head this way, too.
He's Part of the Nick Saban Coaching Tree
The legendary Alabama coach has produced countless assistant coaches who've gone on to successful head coaching careers. Cristobal coached under Saban for four years before coming to Oregon and you can bet part of his vision for Oregon Football will have some similar elements to the machine Saban has built in Tuscaloosa.
Love or hate Alabama, Saban has built a program that restocks talent and hits the ground running toward a national title year in and year out. We can only hope Cristobal can build a Pacific Northwest version of the Crimson Tide - a consistent conference and national title contender.
His South Florida Connection
Enough about Florida, right? Hear us out.
One thing Oregon has been able to do extremely well over the last 12 months is dive into Florida and pull out some of the state's top recruits. The Northwest isn't a football powerhouse for high school players. Yes, it's crucial the Ducks consistently attract the top talent in Oregon, but in order to build a national-caliber program, Oregon needs to have deep ties in California, Texas and Florida - or at least two of the three.
While many thought a change at head coach might diminish Oregon's ties to the incredible talent pool of South Florida, it needs to be said that Cristobal can recruit that part of the country better than almost anyone. He played at the University of Miami, coaches at FIU (located near Miami) and most importantly, he was born and raised in Miami (note of emphasis, the Miami head coaching position seems very well solidified for the next few seasons).
Recruiting matters and having a strong presence in South Florida matters. Cristobal will keep that pipeline strong for the Ducks.