CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Mario Cristobal tugged on the orange Hurricanes jersey that had just been presented to him by University of Miami President Julio Frenk and then tried to put into words how returning to his alma mater tugs at his heartstrings.
“I’m honored and humbled. Words can’t describe,” Cristobal said upon being introduced as the school’s new football coach Tuesday morning. “This is strong. This hits as hard as it can hit. What an honor. ... My god, what an honor.”
Cristobal, a Miami native who graduated from UM and played offensive line on two national title-winning Hurricanes teams, was hired as the school’s 26th head coach Monday. The Columbus High School grad compared the feeling to national signing day.
He promised to bring “toughness and physicality” to the program and said “the time is now.”
“Physicality has to be real,” Cristobal said. “We’re going to work together and we’re going to hold each other accountable. ... We are Miami. We are The U.”
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Cristobal, 51, showed the fire that he is known for, raising his voice as he ticked off the lofty standards he plans to set for his program. He also confessed to being often fueled by Cuban coffee.
“I’ll try to calm down a little bit now,” he ultimately said. “It’s not game day yet.”
Cristobal left Pac-12 powerhouse Oregon for a chance to return his alma mater to prominence. His deal is for 10 years at an average of $8 million per year, according to multiple reports.
Cristobal also called the school’s commitment to building his support staff “mind-blowing.”
“All in is all in,” he said. “There’s no in between. Let’s take this thing to a new level.”
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Manny Diaz was fired as Miami’s coach Monday morning as the hire was made.
The school is also working to hire Dan Radakovich as its new athletic director this week. Radakovich has been Clemson’s AD but started his career in sports administration 40 years ago at Miami, where he got one of his degrees.