Mario Cristobal returning to UM

Published On: Jan 30 2013 03:40:58 PM EST
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 06:22:47 PM EST
CORAL GABLES, Fla. -

Mario Cristobal is returning to the Miami Hurricanes.

The school said that Cristobal was hired on Thursday as the Hurricanes' associate head coach and tight ends coach. It's Cristobal's fourth stint at Miami: He played for two national-championship teams there between 1988 and 1992, was a graduate assistant from 1998 through 2000 and then returned as an assistant coach from 2004 through 2006.

Cristobal spent the past six seasons as the head coach at Florida International, which fired him last month after two bowl appearances.

At Miami, Cristobal assumes the duties of coaching tight ends from Brennan Carroll, who will now coach wide receivers.

Also Thursday, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that former Miami player Kareem Brown is returning as a graduate assistant with the defensive line. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Brown's hiring had not been formally announced by the university.

For Cristobal, it's yet another Hurricane homecoming.

He won two national championships with Miami as a player and was a first-team All-Big East offensive lineman as a senior in 1992. He was a graduate assistant at Miami from 1998 through 2000, then returned as an assistant coach from 2004 through 2006.

And now, he starts a fourth stint as a 'Cane.

"Even with all the places I've been, I've always loved the University of Miami," Cristobal said last year.

Cristobal has also coached at Rutgers, was briefly with the Denver Broncos as a player in 1994 and had a playing stint in NFL Europe. He was not immediately available for comment Thursday.

Cristobal left Miami to become the head coach at FIU, turning around a moribund program and taking it to a Sun Belt championship and the first two bowl games in the school's history. He spent six seasons at FIU before being fired — a move that surprised many around the Panthers' program — and speculation immediately began that he and Miami would find a way to reunite.

Cristobal's addition would figure to be a major help for Miami in recruiting, particularly in South Florida. Cristobal is a Miami native, with strong ties to virtually all of the region's top high school programs, and recruited all parts of talent-rich Florida extensively when he was running the program at FIU.

"Welcome back to the family Coach Cristobal," Miami running back Dallas Crawford wrote on Twitter.

Brown, who played at Miami Norland High, was with the Hurricanes from 2002 through 2006 and was drafted by the New England Patriots. He had brief stays with the Patriots, New York Jets, New York Giants and Tennessee Titans as an NFL player.