There’s a new coach in town.
Homegrown in Miami, reared at the University of Miami and newly hired, Mario Cristobal returned to Miami in a private jet and held his first news conference Tuesday. The change in the air is palpable.
“We are the U...that’s got to mean everything,” he said. Hallelujah, said everyone else.
Yes, Cristobal told us what we wanted to hear, but he did not promise any quick championships or bowl victories - yet. Expectations are tempered, as they should be.
“We need to get to know each other first,” he said, as if his arrival is about building a relationship with his players and his staff. That’s the way it should be. He also mentioned hard work and discipline.
But Cristobal, who could double as a motivational speaker, did imply the UM’s football glory years are within our grasp again. The cockiness, the swagger, the ‘tude. They could be back if the winning framework is followed. “It will take all of us to get there.”
The Canes will be winners again, he implied, officially ending the Manny Diaz era. But University of Miami President Julio Frenk said the hiring of Cristobal, a former UM player and coach, a hometown boy, is not about celebrating bygone days.
“Our selection, however, was not one based in nostalgia for a proud past, but rather in a bold vision for a promising future, “ Frenk said to a gathering of family, players and staff at the UM.
In other words, Frenk hopes he won’t have to do this again in the near future.
For now, all Cristobal needs is believers, from the Canes, fans and the all-important UM alumni base.
Some influential UM alums who also attended Christopher Columbus Senior High, Cristobal’s alma mater,were instrumental in structuring the deal to bring Cristobal back. He’ll make around $80 million over 10 years.
No pressure, Coach Cristobal. Welcome back and please bring back joyful Saturdays for thirsty-for-victory UM fans.