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UA announces Cristobal's hiring

TUSCALOOSA _ The University of Alabama made its latest coaching move on the football staff official Wednesday, announcing the hiring of Mario Cristobal as offensive line coach and assistant head coach.

Terms of his contact were not released. His predecessor, Jeff Stoutland, who was hired by the Philadelphia Eagles on Feb. 8, had a two-year deal for $395,000 plus bonuses.

“We are very pleased to announce the addition of Mario Cristobal to our staff,” Coach Nick Saban said in a statement. “He has an outstanding reputation as both a coach and a recruiter. He will be a great fit in our organization and I think our players will respond to his positive attitude and energy.

“This is a very important hire in terms of working with our offensive line and we feel fortunate that we were able to hire a coach of Mario’s caliber. We want to welcome Mario and his family to the University of Alabama and we are excited to have them here.”

Although Cristobal spent the last six seasons at Florida International (2007-2012), he was fired after a 3-9 record last year and subsequently hired by Miami as tight ends/associate coach.

When he was initially took over at FIU the Golden Panthers were coming off a 0-12 season and had just been hit with NCAA penalties, with 40 players declared ineligible, the program docked three scholarships and placed on four years probation.

Under his direction they went 27-47, but won the program’s first Sun Belt championship and played in its first two bowl games, beating Toledo in the 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and playing in the 2011 Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl.

Previously he coached tight ends and the offensive line at Miami, (2004-06), was a graduate assistant there (1998-200), and was part of two national championship teams with the Hurricanes (1988-92) while playing for Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson.

He also coached at Rutgers (2001-03), where he oversaw the offensive tackles and tight ends for two seasons, and the offense line for one. Last year Cristobal turned down the opportunity to become Greg Schiano's successor, and was also courted by Pitt to be its head coach.

“I want to thank Coach Saban and everyone here at the University of Alabama for this incredible opportunity,” Cristobal said.

Cristobal, the first Division 1 Cuban-American head football coach, grew up in Miami and was standout athlete at Christopher Columbus High School. He heavily recruited South Florida for both Miami and FIU, and could help Alabama make a bigger dent in the talent-rich region.

After interviewing last week, Cristobal was back in Tuscaloosa on Monday to finalize the deal and has already started helping the Crimson Tide in recruiting.

InsideTheU, the Miami site for 247Sports, first reported that Cristobal was offered the job, and Jeremy Fowler of CBSSports.com that he had accepted.

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