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Oregon coach Mario Cristobal just couldn't resist the pull to return home.
Cristobal is leaving the Ducks program and returning to the University of Miami to be the school's football coach. He is expected to sign a 10-year contract worth $8 million per year, according to The Athletic.
The agreement also includes the highest budget for assistant coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Throughout the weekend after the Pac-12 Championship game against Utah, Cristobal was deciding to either stay at Oregon or become Miami's head coach. The Ducks reportedly offered Cristobal a contract extension in the neighborhood of $7 million a year.
Cristobal held a players-only meeting Monday to inform them of his decision to head to Miami. The Hurricanes later announced it had fired current head coach Manny Diaz on Monday morning
Oregon confirmed Cristobal's departure and announced plans for nationwide coaching search.
"We appreciate all of Mario's accomplishments and hard work here at Oregon, and we wish him and his family all the best in their next chapter," Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said in a statement.
"The University of Oregon is a prestigious academic institution with a football program that is well-positioned for continued success in the future, and the search is underway to find another excellent football coach to lead and support our student-athletes moving forward."
Previous coverage: Report: University of Miami targeting Oregon coach Mario Cristobal
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Mullens has named pass game coordinator and wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon interim head football coach for the Alamo Bowl.
After Willie Taggart left Oregon to coach at Florida State, Cristobal was named the 34th head coach in Oregon history on Dec. 8, 2017, after spending the 2017 season as Oregon’s co-offensive coordinator, run-game coordinator and offensive line coach.
During his time at Oregon, Cristobal had a 35-13 record. He led the team to three Pac-12 Championship appearances and two consecutive Pac-12 Championships.
The Ducks won the Rose Bowl after the 2019 season and appeared in the Fiesta Bowl after the 2020 season under Cristobal. Oregon also won the 2018 Redbox Bowl in Cristobal's first year as coach.
The Utah Utes spoiled Cristobal's chances for a third straight conference championship on Friday 38-10 in Las Vegas. After the game, Cristobal denied speaking to the Hurricanes about potentially being the school's next head coach.
“I would say if there’s something to report, I will report it," Cristobal said to reporters. "I always have. Over the years, because certain things are put out there or not.
"Every year our entire staff, whether behind the scenes, whether public or not, we’ve always had different people come for our people, including myself, and how the media treats it and how they choose to posture it, I have no control. As I just mentioned, that’s the extent of it.”
Cristobal's decision to return home to coach at Miami shouldn't come as a total surprise. He was born and raised in the city and was a standout lineman at Christopher Columbus High School.
After his prep days were over, Cristobal attended Miami where he played for Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Erickson from 1988-92. During his time with the Hurricanes, Cristobal won two national championships in 1989 and 1991.
Falling in the rankings: Oregon Ducks falls to No. 14 in final College Football Playoff rankings
After he finished his undergrad studies in business administration, Cristobal was on the Hurricanes coaching staff, first as a graduate assistant (1998-00) and later as a tight end and offensive line coach (2004-06).
In 2007, Cristobal became the second head coach in Florida International University history, which is located in Miami. At the time, he was 36 years old and the first Cuban-American head coach in the FBS.
Cristobal coached at FIU for six seasons before he was fired after a 27-47 record in 2012.
Last week after Oregon's victory against Oregon State, Cristobal flew back to Miami because his mother, Clara, is battling an undisclosed illness. Cristobal flew back to be with the team Sunday night in preparation for the Pac-12 championship game.
Despite rumors and his mother's illness, Cristobal didn't think the players were distracted leading up to Friday's game
“I don’t know what to tell you. I can tell you this, if I had any plans, if I had a decision to make or if I had something to report I would and I wouldn’t keep it one way or the other," Cristobal said.
"Do I expect people to come at me? Yeah, I do. It happens every single year. Is there anything else to report besides that? There’s nothing else to report besides that. When there ever is, if there ever is, I’ll make sure to get it to you as fast as I can."
Where Oregon goes from here in terms of its next coach remains to be seen. Oregon will play the Oklahoma Sooners in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 29 in San Antonio at the Alamodome.
On Sunday afternoon, Cristobal appeared on a videoconference call with Oklahoma interim coach Bob Stoops to discuss the matchup in the Alamo Bowl. Neither Cristobal nor Stoops took questions from the media.
Cristobal was wearing an Oregon shirt as he said he looked forward to playing against Oklahoma.
"I think anytime you earned the opportunity to play an extra game you want to develop and continue to grow," Cristobal said. "There's a lot of young players on the roster that have worked extremely hard to put themselves in a situation where they're capable of contributing and contributing to winning football.
"This is another opportunity for some more practice sessions, as well as offering to play a football game against a great program. So all in all, it's a great opportunity."
On Saturday, offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead accepted the vacant coaching job at Akron. So it is unknown who will coach the Ducks in the team's bowl game later this month.
Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter, who was the coach at Fresno State from 2012-16, would likely be the best option.
The effects of Cristobal's departure will likely have significant ramifications on Oregon's 2022 recruiting class leading up to early National Signing Day Dec. 15-17. According to 247Sports recruiting rankings, the Ducks have the ninth-best class as they have 19 verbal commits.
With Cristobal leaving to go to Miami, a number of players who verbally committed to Oregon could decide to follow him to Coral Gables.
After the announcement of Cristobal leaving Oregon, Tanner Bailey, a four-star quarterback from Alabama committed from the Ducks.
"I would like to thank God for giving me the opportunity to play this great game of football," Bailey said on Twitter. "I would also like to thank Coach Cristobal, Coach Moorhead, Coach Costa, Coach Woodiel, and the rest of the Oregon staff for believing in me, and offering me a chance to play football at such a great university.m
"At this time, I would like to announce my de-commitment from the University of Oregon. Thank you to everyone who has supported me thus far."
Contact Antwan Staley at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.
This article originally appeared on Register-Guard: Mario Cristobal leaving as Oregon Ducks football head coach for Miami