Offensive line coach had backing of Ducks players, coached previous at Alabama, Miami, Rutgers and Florida International


Oregon has its new head man, and it's Mario Cristobal.

He won't be the interim coach for the Las Vegas Bowl and to land recruits, in the wake of Willie Taggart's departure, he'll be the head coach. The school promoted him Friday.

Cristobal spent the past season as Oregon's offensive line coach and co-offensive coordinator under Taggart, who left this week to replace Jimbo Fisher as head coach at Florida State.

"I'm excited and honored to be the head football coach of the Oregon Ducks," Cristobal says. "The rich tradition combined with the incredible wave of momentum that has been created throughout the season and the recruiting process is something we believe will be unstoppable, and this will lead us to fulfill the great expectations of our great university and our fan base."

Cristobal was Alabama's offensive line coach from 2013-16.

He had a six-year run as a head coach at Florida International, going 27-47 from 2007-12, and made a bowl game in a rebuilding situation. The team was 1-11 in his first season, climbed to 8-5 in 2011, and then dipped to 3-9.

Crisbobal began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Miami. He coached at Rutgers from 2001-03, then coached at Miami from 2004-06.

After his college playing career at Miami, he spent two years in pro ball with the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe.

Cristobal already had been named Oregon's interim coach for the Dec. 16 Las Vegas Bowl game against Boise State.

The 47-year-old from Miami will earn $1.125 million from Oregon for the 2017 season

The Ducks needed to act quickly to replace Taggart and salvage members of its recruiting class, with the early letter-of-intent signing period set to begin on Dec. 20, and with many of the committed players scheduled to visit UO this weekend.

Ducks players had expressed wide support for Cristobal's promotion.

"Mario's leadership skills, work ethic, and experience makes him a perfect fit to lead the Oregon football program," said Rob Mullens, athletics director. "He has a passion for Oregon and a vision for our future success, and has made a significant impact on our student-athletes during his time here. We look forward to a great future on the horizon for Ducks under Mario's leadership."

In his first year at Oregon, Cristobal improved on an already strong Oregon running game as the Ducks finished the regular season with more than 3,000 yards on the ground, averaging 268 yards rushing per game. The Ducks' rushing offense was ranked eighth in the FBS at the end of the regular season and rushed for 40 touchdowns, the most for Oregon since 2014, while averaging 5.4 yards per rush. Senior running back Royce Freeman ran for 122.9 yards per game, ranking 11th in the country while scoring 16 rushing touchdowns, tied for 12th-most in the country.

In seven games started by sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert, the Ducks' offensive line allowed him to be sacked just six times. Under Cristobal, standout senior left tackle Tyrell Crosby allowed only three quarterback hurries and no sacks on his way to earning the Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-12 as well as first-team all-Pac 12 honors while also earning all-America consideration.

Cristobal is a native of Miami and graduated from the University of Miami in 1993. An offensive lineman, he signed a free-agent contract with the Denver Broncos in 1994, and played for for the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe in 1995 and 1996.

Cristobal and his wife, Jessica, were married in June 2006 and have two sons, Mario Mateo and Rocco.

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