The rumored hire was confirmed on Wednesday via RollTide.com.
Said Saban in an official university release:
“We are very pleased to announce the addition of Mario Cristobal to our staff,” said Saban. “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.”
Cristobal led Florida International to its only successful seasons in program history, winning a share of the Sun Belt Conference championship and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in 2010. He was unceremoniously dispatched at the end of the 2012 season and replaced with Ron Turner, whose last college foray was a largely disastrous turn with the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Cristobal will oversee perhaps the best unit Alabama has on its star-studded roster, the offensive line. Among the players he gets to coach immediately is five-star 2011 prospect Cyrus Koundjio.
But perhaps of more significance from Saban’s viewpoint is what Cristobal brings on the recruiting trail. The Alabama head coach and four-time BCS champion alluded to it in his statement, Cristobal gives what is already the premier recruiting program in college football a strong in into one of the most talent-rich pipelines in the nation.
Cristobal successfully recruited the Miami area while head coach at FIU, landing such gems as T.Y. Hilton. Combine Cristobal’s knowledge of and connections to the area with the Crimson Tide brand name, and the possibilities are almost limitless.