Mario Cristobal will become the new head coach of the Oregon Ducks football team, according to a source.
Cristobal will will replace Willie Taggart, who after one season left Oregon on Tuesday to replace Jimbo Fisher as the next coach at Florida State.
Cristobal came to Oregon last year to become the Ducks co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. He previously coached the offensive line at Alabama from 2013 through 2016.
Cristobal has head coaching experience. He guided Florida International from 2007 through 2012, compiling a record of 27-47. He took over a struggling program and went 1-11 his first season. He seemingly rebuilt the program and reached 8-5 in 2011 before backsliding to 3-9 the following year.
About 70 Oregon players signed a petition lobbying for Cristobal to take over the program. He was named interim coach for the team's Dec. 16 meeting with Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
The push now is to keep defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt on as defensive coordinator. He wanted to replace Taggart as head coach, so it will be interesting to see if he is willing to remain at Oregon given that he was passed over for another assistant.
However, the Ducks, with the help of some powerful boosters, could be in a position to make a financial offer that could ease Leavitt's disappointment. He made $1.125 million this season.
According to those with knowledge of the search, former Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin and current California coach Justin Wilcox were very much in the mix. However, Wilcox, according to a source, never interviewed with Oregon.
Keeping Cristobal is a strong move. He, along with whatever assistant coaches remain, could help salvage what was a top five recruiting class before Taggart departed.
Since he moved on, the class has fallen to in the rankings due to decommits but remains top 10. Cristobal's presence could very well help keep the class in the top 10.