Thursday, January 10, 2013
Mario Cristobal the perfect hire for Miami
By Andrea Adelson
Mario Cristobal's dismissal from Florida International was stunning, but his arrival at Miami is the complete opposite: a total no-brainer.
It is not too often the perfect fit falls into a coach's lap. That is exactly what happened to Al Golden, who had the common sense to realize he had to snap Cristobal up before anybody else could take him away. Cristobal's title (associate head coach/tight ends) means little, quite honestly.
His value lies in two critical areas: recruiting and coaching experience. It helps, of course, that Cristobal is from Miami, played at Miami and has roots so embedded in Miami, he hesitated when head coaching opportunities at Pitt and Rutgers came his way a little over a year ago.
So Cristobal's FIU team struggled under heightened expectations in 2012, going 3-9 -- and a season that ultimately (and surprisingly) cost him his job. That does nothing to diminish the tireless work he put in turning around a program that had facilities worse than many high schools when he took the head coaching job in 2006. Not to mention crushing sanctions as a result of infractions before his arrival.
FIU reached heights it had never seen before, and may not see again for a long while. The Panthers reached those heights with kids recruited from the South Florida area -- kids that may have been overlooked by Miami or Florida or Florida State. Kids that perhaps were recruited by those schools but wanted an opportunity to play right away or just wanted to play for Cristobal, period.
His recruiting ties to the area run longer than Golden's, longer than anybody on the current staff save for Art Kehoe. Cristobal is seen as a young, rising star in the business and a move like this works for Miami and it works for him. How long will it last? Well, you can ask that of any coach in America. There is no doubt Cristobal would love another head coaching job. Working at Miami again should only enhance his reputation, and help Miami.
Cristobal knows how to recruit, and he knows how to coach and he knows how to win. That, in the end, will help Miami win. No matter how long he stays.