Ducks hire Tide assistant coach

Willie Taggart has recruited one of the nation’s top recruiters.

Oregon’s first-year coach will hire Mario Cristobal away from Alabama to be the Ducks’ co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

Cristobal was named the national recruiter of the year in 2015 by 247Sports, which was the first outlet to break the news.

David Reaves, who was the associate head coach and tight ends coach at South Florida, will share the co-offensive coordinator duties with Cristobal, although Taggart plans to call the plays.

Cristobal brings head coaching experience to Taggart’s staff after compiling a 27-47 record at Florida International from 2007-2013. After leading the Panthers to a Sun Belt title and two bowl games, he left to become Nick Saban’s offensive line coach with the Crimson Tide in 2013.

According to, Cristobal interviewed for the vacant Western Michigan job before accepting Taggart’s offer to fly with the Ducks.

Oregon’s assistants are on the road recruiting with national signing day looming on Feb. 1.

In addition to stealing Cristobal from an SEC powerhouse, Taggart was able to lure defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and defensive backs coach Charles Clark away from Colorado, associate head coach/defensive line coach Joe Salave’a away from Washington State and defensive backs coach Keith Heyward away from Louisville.

Oregon also hired wide receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty from Michigan, where he was an offensive analyst for Jim Harbaugh.

Taggart has also brought director of football operations Sharrod Everett, running backs coach Donte Pimpleton, assistant athletic director of football recruiting operations David Kelly and strength coach Irele Oderinde from South Florida.

Reaves called the plays for the Bulls during their victory over South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl.

Taggart did not retain any members of Mark Helfrich’s staff.

Former Oregon offensive coordinator Matt Lubick accepted the same position at Baylor. Quarterbacks coach David Yost is Utah State’s new offensive coordinator.

Justin Wilcox was officially hired as California’s new coach. Former Oregon assistant Steve Greatwood is expected to join him in Berkeley, and the former Duck player is courting ex-Oregon assistants such as linebackers coach Don Pellum.

Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens said the program’s longtime strength coach, Jim Radcliffe, will remain in the department working with the track and baseball teams.

Cristobal, 46, played at Miami (1989-92), where he was also an assistant from 2004-06 before taking the FIU job. He was an assistant at Rutgers from 2001-03 under Greg Schiano.

Taggart, who was hired on Dec. 7 and signed a five-year, $16 million contract, has taken advantage of Oregon’s increased assistant salary pool.

Leavitt has a four-year deal with an annual salary of $1.15 million. Former Oregon defensive coordinator Brady Hoke was scheduled to make $700,000 in 2017 and 2018.

Salave’a has a three-year deal with an annual salary of $550,000. Former Oregon defensive line coach Ron Aiken would have made $400,000 next season and had a $500,000 salary in 2014.

Dougherty has a two-year deal with an annual salary of $275,000. Lubick, who was set to make $600,000 at Oregon, coached wide receivers in addition to handling the offensive coordinator duties last season.

Clark ($250,000 salary) and Pimpleton ($195,000) also have two-year contracts. Former Oregon defensive backs coach John Neal would have made $335,000, and former running backs coach Gary Campbell would have made $315,000 in 2017.

The contract for Cristobal, Reaves, Heyward and Oderinde have not yet been released by Oregon.

Share This Story