Mario Cristobal Says He's 'More Driven' Than Ever After Taking Miami HC Job

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2021

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 07: New Head Coach Mario Cristobal of the Miami Hurricanes speaks with the media during a press conference introducing him at the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility at University of Miami on December 07, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Cristobal becomes the 26th head football coach in the program's history. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
Mark Brown/Getty Images

Mario Cristobal had his introductory press conference on Tuesday as the new head football coach of the Miami Hurricanes, telling reporters he is "more driven, more motivated than at any point in my life." 

"When The U is on and The U brings it, there's nothing like it," he added. "We gotta get there. That's going to take everybody."

Cristobal, 51, played for the Hurricanes between 1989-92, was a graduate assistant between 1998-00 and served as an assistant coach from 2004-06, so he has no shortage of familiarity with the program. 

"Everything is here," he said. "It's a first-class university, academically, your diploma. You're in the hotbed of talent in the entire country. Your facilities have taken a tremendous upgrade and are going to continue to grow. You're going to be surrounded by the best coaches."

Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz

Oregon OL coach Alex Mirabal is expected to join Cristobal at UM. Canes OL coach Garin Justice is such a class act that he called Mirabal&set up Zoom sessions with Mirabal and UM o-linemen.Those sessions have begun. Rest of staff TBD. Outgoing staff (not Manny, Lashlee)coach bowl

But despite those amenities and Miami's rich football culture, the program has struggled in recent years. Under Manny Diaz, the Hurricanes went just 21-15 since 2019 and lost both of its bowl games. The Hurricanes haven't won an ACC title since 2004, far removed from the last period of dominance under Larry Coker in the early 2000s.  

Cristobal's job is to return the program to the level of its storied past. Between Florida International (2007-12) and Oregon (2017-21) he's gone 62-60 as a head coach, though he led the Ducks to a 35-13 mark and a 12-win season in 2019 and a 10-win season this year. 

"It's been done before with a lot less," Cristobal said of returning Miami to its glory. "Now it's an opportunity to take it to a new level with a lot more."

Barry Jackson @flasportsbuzz

Cristobal, in this ongoing press conference: "I’m going to invest every ounce of my existence to make sure we get to level we need to get to.”

Miami is paying him handsomely to do so, with The Athletic reporting he was signed to a 10-year, $80 million contract.