Four Potential Replacements for Mario Cristobal at Oregon

Chip Kelly, California v UCLA
Chip Kelly, California v UCLA / Michael Owens/GettyImages

On Sunday reports began to fly that Oregon's Mario Cristobal will be the next head coach at Miami. Cristobal would be leaving the Ducks behind for his alma mater and sticking the university with a pretty serious decision to make late in the coaching carousel.

If Cristobal does bolt for South Beach, here's a look at five candidates to replace him at Oregon.

Chip Kelly

Kelly's tenure at UCLA hasn't gone as expected, but he had his best season in 2021, leading the Bruins to record of 8-4. Overall he's 18-25 in Westwood, but no one in Oregon forgets what he did as the head coach of the Ducks from 2009 through 2012. In that time he went 46-7 and 33-3 in the Pac-12. That record included wins the the Rose Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. and three conference titles.

The shine is off Kelly a bit from his highs at Oregon, but Nike co-founder Phil Knight still essentially runs Oregon's athletic department and had a great relationship with Kelly during his time in Eugene. This wouldn't be a shocking move, especially since UCLA may have let Kelly go if he hadn't finished the season with three straight wins. Kelly may want to get out while he can.

Joe Moorhead

Moorhead has been Cristobal's offensive coordinator for the past two seasons and just left to take the head coaching job at Akron. He'd absolutely bolt from there to return as the head coach at Oregon. Moorhead helped Oregon go 14-6 the last two seasons. He knows the area, knows the recruiting relationships the program has and knows how things operate.

He's almost been a head coach twice before. From 2012 to 2015 he coached his alma mater at Fordham, going 38-13 and 11-1 in the Patriot League. Then was Mississippi State's head coach in 2018 and 2019, going 14-12 and struggling to get the program off the ground. This would be the smoothest transition for Oregon.

Matt Campbell

Campbell has been one of the hottest names on college coaching searches over the past few years due to the phenomenal job he's done turning Iowa State into a relevant program. He took the Cyclones to a Fiesta Bowl victory in 2020 and is 42-33 and 31-23 in the Big 12 during his six seasons in Ames.

The 41-year-old is energetic and might be just what Oregon needs to replace Cristobal, who has a similar personality. He's got deep Midwestern roots but Eugene could be a great fit for him. The 9-3 record he posted in 2020 might be the best he can do at Iowa State. It might be the perfect time to move on.

Dave Aranda

The Baylor head coach has been brilliant during his second season in Waco. He's led the Bears to an 11-2 record and a Big 12 title a season after debuting with a 2-7 record. Fans are clamoring for the school to lock the 45-year-old defensive guru up for the long haul. Could Phil Knight's money dislodge him from his current job? It's certainly possible.

Aranda is from California, and a chance to move back to the West Coast might entice him. It would be a bold move from Oregon to go with a defense-first head coach. But Aranda is a rising star who was connected to the openings at both LSU and USC. He made it clear his intention was to stay at Baylor, but Oregon could present a unique opportunity.