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Mario Cristobal's name has been linked to the University of Miami for years, and now the Miami native finally could be coming home.
Cristobal and the Hurricanes have been in serious talks that would make him head football coach, the Palm Beach Post confirmed Sunday. And now Miami is looking for an answer and has given Cristobal a deadline of midday Monday to accept the position, according to Ross Dellenger of SINow.
If not, and Cristobal decides to sign an extension with Oregon, the Hurricanes will retain Manny Diaz, as has been reported by the Palm Beach Post and others throughout the coaching search.
Cristobal is considering a contract that would pay the 51-year-old about $8 million a year, according to reports.
If he accepts Miami's offer, Cristobal would leave Oregon, where he was 35-13 in just more than four years and won two Pac-12 titles and Diaz would be out after three seasons.
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Diaz, though, had not been fired as of Sunday early afternoon and was out recruiting. He then canceled a recruiting trip later in the day.
Along with Cristobal, Miami is in a similar position with Clemson's Dan Radakovich, who has been offered a contract to become the Hurricanes' athletic director. Miami is hoping for answers soon and ideally would like to seal both deals by Monday.
Cristobal, who was born in Miami, played for the Hurricanes from 1989-92. He started his coaching career at Miami as a graduate assistant after a four-year career as an offensive lineman, and returned four years later as an assistant.
The move would mark a seismic shift in the athletic department and football program.
Radakovich would take over as athletic director after holding the same position at Clemson for the last nine years. His salary would start at a base of $1.5 million with incentives that could boost it to $3 million, which would make him the highest paid AD in the country.
Cristobal, who started his head coaching career at Florida International in 2007, has been a target since having success at Oregon, where he took over in 2018 for Willie Taggart. The Ducks are 35-13 under Cristobal, and have two Pac-12 championships (2019, 2020). Although he never reached the College Football Playoff, Cristobal led Oregon to four bowls in his four full seasons, including two New Year's Six appearances.
Oregon's 2021 regular season ended in disappointment, though. After reaching No. 3 in the CFP rankings, the Ducks lost twice in three weeks to Utah by a combined score of 76-17, including Friday's 38-10 drubbing in the conference title game.
Cristobal's overall record is 62-60, including 27-47 in six years at FIU.
Cristobal is known as a relentless recruiter who helped Oregon become the premier program on the West Coast. Oregon has the top ranked recruiting class in the Pac-12 in each of the last three years.
Diaz also was born and raised in Miami but his arrival was much different. He was hired by former athletic director Blake James on Dec. 30, 2018, just hours after Mark Richt resigned without ever have been a head coach, other than a little more than two weeks at Temple. James paid $4 million for Diaz to be released from a contract he signed about two weeks earlier.
That move proved to be the undoing of James, who was fired Nov. 16, two days after Miami's loss to rival Florida State in Tallahassee.
Diaz, 45, was 21-15, including a 7-5 record this season after starting 2-4. But like those before him for most of the last two decades, he has yet to get the Hurricanes to compete with the elite teams nationally or even in position to win a conference championship. Still, Miami is 16-9 in the ACC during Diaz's three seasons, the second best record behind Clemson.
The one game Diaz has never been able to shake was an embarrassing 30-24 loss to FIU in his first season. The game was played at Marlins Park, which is on the footprint of the old Orange Bowl, the site of the Hurricanes' glory days. Miami entered as a three-touchdown favorite.
Diaz called it a “very, very dark night, one of the lowest points ever in this proud program’s history.”
Since Radakovich arrived at Clemson, the program has won two national championships (2016, 2018) and appeared in the College Football Playoff six consecutive years. The Tigers' run of six consecutive ACC titles was snapped this season.
Clemson will finish 2021 with its worst record in a decade. Yet, with a win in the bowl, the Tigers will be 10-3, which equals Miami's best record in 18 years.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami, Mario Cristobal in serious talks to make him football coach