Mario Cristobal’s exit from the Ducks’ football program will have heavy implications on the future for Our Beloved Ducks in decades beyond. He has been an incredible recruiter for Oregon since taking over as head coach, and the culture building under his guidance feels rock solid. We all can agree the team appears destined for greatness under his reign after a dominant Rose Bowl victory pre-COVID, as he himself has called Oregon the, “best program in the country.” Unfortunately we must try to objectively broach the subject of him leaving despite being massive fans of the program.
I’m not saying it’s particularly likely that Cristobal will leave Oregon soon, but we have to at least ask the question: what criteria would have to be met for Cristobal to leave for another program or the NFL?
From what we’ve seen so far while at Oregon, it appears the next step for Cristobal would have to be to the pro level. In my eyes we have one more offseason before the NFL calls start coming in (if they haven’t already), and Cristobal will inevitably be on that short list. The Ducks’ COVID season shouldn’t have much of an impact on his resume up to this point, which is something I doubt that many pro teams would weigh heavily in their process for pursuing a new coach.
His work at Oregon in convincing blue chip talent from all over the country to come to a far less competitive PAC-12 over SEC heavyweights has been nothing short of spectacular, and other teambuilders like Matt Rhule have been recruited up to the pro level recently, so it’s not out of the question that the sheep-think league will follow suit with coaches like Cristobal.
Aside from the pro level, I could also see Cristobal taking over an SEC program. Offers for coordinator positions at big-time programs are likely already on the table for Cristobal, but it is of course doubtful that we would see him jump ship after just beginning his new extension at Oregon.
To take over a neighboring college program, it would take at least the next two or three seasons for the Oregon program to give up on his vision and cut the extension early with a firing (which is highly doubtful to happen with the talent Cristobal has assembled). Alabama’s Nick Saban can’t coach forever, and considering Cristobal’s experience in his staff, I’m sure he’d be good for a recommendation with the Crimson Tide.
Now of course, as Duck fans, we all think highly of Cristobal. We expect loyalty, commitment to the process, and honoring of his contract set to pay him $4.55 million annually as the head coach of Oregon until 2025. I have the upmost respect for his demeanor and what he’s done for the program, and I hope that he stays with the Ducks as long as possible.
If he were to leave Oregon, however, where do you see him landing? How many years do you feel we realistically have left with Cristobal before he goes to find greener grass?
Top Photo By: Kevin Cline
Alex Heining is an Oregon alumni from the graduate class of 2021. After studying sports business and media studies, he has moved into the field of digital marketing as a copywriter and content manager in the Los Angeles area. Still, he loves his Ducks and goes to local high school games all over the Los Angeles and Orange County area to check out new recruits of the future (and a SoFi game or two with the pros). On any given Saturday, expect to find him doing martial arts, playing the guitar, or screaming at the tv over a missed holding penalty.
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