Mario Cristobal spent six seasons as the head coach at FIU. After leading the Panthers to the program’s first two bowl games, Cristobal was inexplicably fired following a down year in 2012.
The highly respected coach landed on his feet, however. Cristobal returned to where he starred as a player, taking on the associate head coaching and tight end duties at the University of Miami.
However, before even getting into the brunt of offseason practices, Cristobal has already started looking at new places. After South Carolina’s Shawn Elliot turned down the open offensive line coaching position at Alabama, Cristobal reportedly interviewed for the same job.
But he is not the only person being considered, now that Elliot is out of the picture.
This according to ESPN SEC expert Chris Low.
“With Elliott out of the picture at Alabama, Miami associate head coach/tight ends coach Mario Cristobal is the latest candidate to reportedly interview for the Crimson Tide’s offensive line job. Cristobal was the head coach at Florida International for six seasons before being fired following this past season. Two other names connected to Alabama’s search for an offensive line coach were former Fresno State head coach Pat Hill and UCF assistant head coach/offensive line coach Brent Key.”
Hill coached Fresno State from 1997 until 2011, compiling a 112-80 record, appearing in 11 bowl games and winning a share of the 1999 WAC title. He is currently the offensive line coach with the Atlanta Falcons. Presumably, a decision to leave the NFL to take on the same role at Alabama would be a means for Hill to break back into head coaching at the collegiate level.
Key has never been a head coach, but he has climbed the ranks at Central Florida. He has been with the program for the last nine seasons, and the last five as the program’s offensive line coach. He has also spent the last four years as the team’s recruiting coordinator.
With his ties to the central and south Florida region — an absolute college football recruiting hotbed — he could prove to be a huge asset to the Tide in bringing in the biggest and the best players the area has to offer.