Miami still has a head football coach in Manny Diaz, but it appears his days are numbered. While the school's search for a new athletic director drags on for another week, it's clear the athletic department is an absolute mess. Despite that, The U is preparing to make a run at Miami alum, and current Oregon head coach, Mario Cristobal.
Multiple reports surfaced on Friday claiming Miami was ready to chase Cristobal, who has put Oregon at the top of the Pac-12 in the last two seasons and has them back in the conference title game in 2021. Cristobal led the Ducks to a Rose Bowl win in 2019 and a Fiesta Bowl loss last season. Since taking over as the full-time head coach in December of 2017 he's gone 35-12, with a 23-9 record in the Pac-12. He struggled at his previous stop during six seasons as the head coach at FIU where he went 27-47, but he's certainly been better at Oregon.
The 51-year-old Cristobal isn't the best in-game coach and often makes some pretty confusing decisions, but he's a dynamite recruiter and his team has often overcome some of his shortcomings.
Miami badly needs someone who can recruit the area and Cristobal fits that bill. For years SEC teams and other prominent programs have poached the best talent in Florida away from Miami and Florida State. In the 2022 recruiting class, none of the state's top 25 players is expected to commit to Miami. That's criminal.
The question of course isn't really what Cristobal would bring to Miami, but what Miami can offer Cristobal to get him to move. What he's a Miami native and an alum, would leading the Hurricanes actually be a better job? Oregon is winning now and while USC just made a huge move to land Lincoln Riley, the Ducks still sit atop the Pac-12 for now. Miami needs a massive rebuild that would star with meticulously reestablishing recruiting pipelines all over the state, while going head-to-head with the Clemsons, Georgias and Alabamas of the world. It would be a massive undertaking.
On top of all that, Miami's athletic department looks like a complete mess right now. The school doesn't even have a full-time athletic director. Would Cristobal sign on not knowing who he'll be working for? That's highly doubtful.
If Oregon ponies up for one of those new and increasingly-popular $100 million contracts, could Miami put the money together to beat it? The pull of an alma mater can be great, but cash is also a huge motivator.
We'll see what happens. Cristobal has a pretty good where he is, but the chance to return home to his university and rebuilding the glory years could be too much to pass up.
UPDATE: It appears Miami is reportedly set to hire Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich, which would certainly help in their pursuit of a head coach: