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Mario Cristobal as New Offensive Line Coach

Alabama football head coach Nick Saban announced Wednesday that Mario Cristobal will replace Jeff Stoutland as Alabama’s offensive line coach and assistant head coach. Stoutland was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles on February 8.

“We are very pleased to announce the addition of Mario Cristobal to our staff,” said Saban. “He has an outstanding reputation as both a coach and a recruiter. He will be a great fit in our organization and I think our players will respond to his positive attitude and energy. This is a very important hire in terms of working with our offensive line and we feel fortunate that we were able to hire a coach of Mario’s caliber. We want to welcome Mario and his family to the University of Alabama and we are excited to have them here.”

Coach Saban has traditionally hired great recruiters and Cristobal fits into that mold very well.  He carries the reputation of being an excellent recruiter and being from the state of Florida and the Miami area this could serve the Crimson Tide very well.  Cristobal spent the last six seasons (2007-12) as head coach at Florida International University. For his first months of work at FIU, Cristobal implemented a spread offense and started to build a competitive program in the Sun-Belt. Going into his third season the head coach put together an impressive recruiting class of 23 student athletes, at least 20 of them from Florida.  He led the Panthers to the 2010 Sun Belt Conference title and their first bowl appearance, a victory in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl over Toledo. He was the 2010 Sun Belt Coach of the Year and also guided FIU to a bowl appearance in 2011 (Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl). He was the first Cuban-American Division I head football coach while coaching at FIU. Cristobal was not retained as head coach of FIU after the 2012 season and the decision by AD Garcia was heavily criticized for its rashness.

Prior to being named FIU head coach, Cristobal spent two stints at Miami, 1998-2000 as a graduate assistant and 2004-2006 as tight ends coach and offensive line coach. During 2001-2003, Cristobal was a tight ends and offensive line coach at Rutgers University under Greg Schiano.  He most recently joined Miami’s staff on January 10, 2013, where he served as associate head coach and tight ends coach. Then six weeks later Saban came calling.

“I want to thank Coach Saban and everyone here at the University of Alabama for this incredible opportunity,” said Cristobal.

Before taking over as the head coach at FIU, Cristobal was an assistant at Miami for three seasons (2004-06). He was the tight ends coach the first two seasons and offensive line coach in 2006. His first full-time coaching position was as an assistant at Rutgers, where he coached tight ends and offensive line from 2001-03. From 1998-2000, Cristobal was a graduate assistant on the Miami Hurricanes staff.

This is not Cristobal first encounter with Alabama but he was a player at that time.  He was a four-year letterman for the University of Miami Hurricanes from 1988-92, playing for Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson. During his four years at UM, the Hurricanes won a pair of National Championships (1989 and 1991) while playing in two Sugar Bowls, one Cotton Bowl and an Orange Bowl. One of the Sugar Bowls was against the Crimson Tide where Alabama won its 12th National Championship.  Cristobal was a first team All-Big East selection as an offensive tackle in the 1992 season.

Following his college playing career, Cristobal signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos in 1994. He played for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1995 and 1996.

The Miami native was a prep standout at Christopher Columbus High School. He graduated from Miami in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and later earned a master’s degree from UM in 2001.

Cristobal and his wife Jessica were married in June of 2006 and have two sons (Mario, Jr. and Rocco).

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