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'Expectations Are For Us To Get Better': New Canes Football Coach Mario Cristobal Talks 1-on-1 With CBS4's Mike Cugno

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Mario Cristobal is home. The new Hurricanes football coach was formally introduced on Tuesday morning, after accepting an offer to become head coach at his alma mater, where he won two national championships as a player.

Following the official news conference, Cristobal spoke one-on-one with CBS4's Mike Cugno about family, changes at the "U", and how to temper expectations.

Here is a transcript of their conversation.

CUGNO: "Mario, I think I'd be remiss if I didn't mention family. When you come into this press conference and say you're coming home, how much has family been a part of this whole decision and what you'll tell kids about the University of Miami?"

CRISTOBAL: "Well, they took up the whole front couple rows, I know that much. So, they made it chaotic for the people organizing the event. We all know that family hits different. And now I want to be clear in saying that family supported me throughout my entire career and my journey and still support me up until whatever decision was made. So, there's, there's more to it than that. Is that a big factor? Absolutely, it is. Absolutely. But it was also a big factor in me being at Oregon, so they were supportive either way. And then when you combine that with where you played. Okay, I got 6,7,8 zippers on my body, meaning surgeries, from having played, having bled, having sweat out here, during a very unique time. I don't get lost in that time in terms of how I approach football now. But I know the special impact they had on me. And so, I'm like, that's like my life's calling, I'm driven to try and provide young men and their families with that experience and the game changing effect and impact that has on them in terms of pursuing excellence. And whatever they choose to pursue. So big factors, man strong. I mean this is a really strong and powerful moment for me personally and I want to make sure that I show it in the way that I work and the way that I challenge our organization, everybody in the  organization to bring their best as well."

CUGNO: "It's been a while since you've been here, you look around, quite a few changes, including indoor practice facility. What's your impression of all this, and now the potential considering the resources given to the program?"

CRISTOBAL: "Well, I've only been through the front of the stairs, not over here, so I've seen that and that is certainly a tremendous amount of enhancements that have been made to the facility. And I look forward to looking at the rest. Probably won't have time because we got to hit the road right away and it's a busy week. You've got to, you know, address staff, and you've got to do everything you can to meet with certain players, you know, before they get caught up in finals, and then practices and head out to the bowl game and whatnot. And finish off the recruiting class as well. So I haven't had time to really do anything except pop out of the car, grab a Cafecito and head on over here. And then that's okay, there's work to be done. I'm ready for it. But I mean, it's, it's beautiful. And it's, you know, we're going to continue to invest and elevate every standard in the place."

New Canes football coach Mario Cristobal holds up UM jersey bearing his name at news conference on Dec. 7, 2021. (CBS4)

CUGNO: "Success doesn't happen overnight. So how do you temper expectations as you come here and try to build something that is going to be in your image?"

CRISTOBAL: "Well, the expectations are going to be for us to get better every day in some way, shape, or form. I mean, when you have to rebuild, you know, there's some painful steps you cannot skip, you're not going to skip them. If you do, you're gonna pay for them later. They're gonna experience some of them in a worse way later and like I get it, you know, I get it. And I think, you know, similar when not the same record, obviously, but arriving at Oregon when they were 4-8, a couple years later, your Pac-12 champions, Rose Bowl champions. And same thing at Rutgers, you know, 1-11 you know, same thing here at Miami. I think it was four or five and seven or something of that nature. So there's been so many great learning moment, teaching moments, learning lessons along the way that all these all those things, and all those lessons along with spending time at the University of Alabama learning under Nick Saban, getting that blueprint really dialed in. All those things serve a tremendous purpose in bringing it here and implementing it."

CUGNO: "Last question. What do you expect of this team from the Sun Bowl? What are you looking for as you get to see them up close and personal for the first time really?"

CRISTOBAL: "I'm going to expect what I'm going to expect of myself and everybody else on a daily basis? Nothing but our very best."

Cristobal's 10-year, $80 million deal is by far the richest the Hurricanes ever have given a coach.

Cristobal was 35-13 at Oregon, with two Pac-12 titles and a Rose Bowl victory on his resume.  Cristobal played at Miami, was part of the 1989 and 1991 title-winning teams and returned to the Hurricanes to start his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Butch Davis in 1998.

He left to spend three seasons at Rutgers, then returned to Miami from 2004 through 2006. He wanted to be a candidate for the top job when the Hurricanes fired Larry Coker but instead was hired as coach at FIU and spent six seasons there.

A four-season stint as an Alabama assistant followed, and then Cristobal spent four years as head coach in Oregon.


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