Former star player and FIU coach Mario Cristobal returns to Miami as assistant

Florida International Golden Panthers head coach Mario Cristobal before a game against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at FIU Stadium. (Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)

Mario Cristobal showed the Florida International Golden Panthers the type of loyalty that is rare amongst college coaches. After inheriting an 0-12 team, Cristobal led FIU to the first two bowl appearances in school history.

However, his loyalty and his wins were not good enough. After a down year in 2012 in which the Panthers finished a disappointing 3-9, the school’s athletic department failed to show him the same benefit of the doubt, kicking Cristobal to the curb.

On Thursday, Cristobal found himself back in the game roughly a month after his classless firing on the part of FIU, and it was at a very familiar place.

Cristobal has officially been named the associate head coach and tight ends coach at the University of Miami, according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. originally reported that the man and the school were in talks to reunite. The 42-year old should provide an immediate boost not only to the coaching staff as a hard-working and solid football mind, but in recruiting as well.

Not only is Cristobal a Miami native, but he played for the Hurricanes, dominating along the offensive line from 1989-1992. He was on two national title-winning teams (’89 and ’91) and he was named to the All-Big East First Team in 1992.

He spent three seasons playing professionally here and in Europe before getting into coaching. He first gig was as a graduate assistant with the ‘Canes, and after leaving to spent a few years at Rutgers, he returned to coach Miami’s offensive line and tight ends before accepting the FIU head coaching position.

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