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February 18, 2013

UA to hire Cristobal

TUSCALOOSA | University of Alabama coach Nick Saban will complete his 2013 coaching staff with the addition of Mario Cristobal as offensive line coach, Tidesports.com has confirmed.

Cristobal, 42, comes from the University of Miami, where he was hired only weeks ago as a tight ends coach. He was dismissed as head coach at Florida International in December.

Cristobal, a former Hurricanes player, replaces Jeff Stoutland, who left UA earlier this month for the offensive line coach position with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles.

As a former UM player and coach who also engineered an impressive turnaround of FIU's program, Cristobal brings to Alabama a reputation for outstanding recruiting ties to the prospect-rich South Florida area.

"I think he'll make a great addition to the team," said UA signee Grant Hill, an offensive lineman from Huntsville. "I have never met him before. I will soon though."

Saban is known to have interviewed at least two other coaches for the position, including University of Central Florida offensive line coach Brent Key and South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott.

Cristobal was a senior starter on the 1992 Miami offensive line that lost to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl for the national championship, 34-13. His recent brief stint as Miami's tight ends coach was his second at UM after coaching there from 2004-2006. He was a graduate assistant for the Hurricanes from 1998-2000.

He inherited one of the nation's worst programs at FIU seven years ago, and went 1-11 in his first season in 2007. Four years later, he led the Golden Panthers to the second of back-to-back bowl appearances. Cristobal's salary at Miami was not publicly disclosed as UM is a private institution. It is clear what salary Cristobal will receive at Alabama. Stoutland earned $395,000 from UA in 2012.

Saban recently rounded out his support staff with the hires of Kerry Stephenson as Director of Player Development, and Kevin Steele as Director of Player Personnel.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase@tidesports.com or at 205-722-0196. Andrew Bone contributed to this report.

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