Former U standout says Butch Davis, Cristobal in lead for coaching job

The University of Miami is on the lookout for a new head coach to replace the fired Al Golden, and two frontrunners appear to have emerged. Former Hurricanes offensive lineman Joaquin Gonzalez, who was on the team that won a championship in 2001, spoke to the search committee today and then posted updates on Twitter.

Per Gonzalez, the two frontrunners are the job are former ‘Canes head coach Butch Davis and another former offensive lineman in the form of Mario Cristobal, who is currently an assistant at Alabama.

Just finished interview with search firm..consensus across all their interviews has been Butch/Mario leading, followed by Chud then Schiano

— Joaquin Gonzalez (@Joaquin_UMOL73) November 19, 2015

They asked great questions and are really trying to understand what makes the U…unique! I hope they use the info to make the right choice!

— Joaquin Gonzalez (@Joaquin_UMOL73) November 19, 2015

Chud refers to former Miami tight end and current Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, while Greg Schiano was the program’s defensive coordinator for two seasons before taking the head coaching job at Rutgers. But Davis and Cristobal are both unique choices in their own right.

Davis, 64, came to the program in 1995 after serving as the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys under former Miami coach Jimmy Johnson, who led the ‘Canes to a national title in 1987. Davis succeeded Dennis Erickson, who won two championships with the program before leaving to coach the Seattle Seahawks, and went on to go 51-20 (33-9 Big East) with a bowl record of 4-0 before leaving to coach the Cleveland Browns. Davis most recently coached North Carolina and went 28-23 over four years, his tenure marred by academic scandal in which he was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Simply put, Davis is a Miami guy through and through and would be a fine hire despite his age.

But then there’s Cristobal, who played on Erickson’s two national title teams and is actually FROM Miami. He gives the team a young and fresh face at just 45 years old, has head coaching experience with six seasons at FIU, and has earned a reputation as an excellent recruiter during his time at Alabama. By reestablishing the so-called “State of Miami,” with the famous imaginary line being drawn from Tampa to Daytona Beach and recruiting the living hell out of South Florida, Cristobal could easily be the man to bring The U out of the doldrums and back to national prominence.

Needless to say, Campus Sports will be watching this coaching search like a hawk. Stay tuned for updates!

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports