A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press on Sunday that Gattis was leaving Michigan after three seasons to join Cristobal’s staff. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details of an agreement were still being finalized, and no announcement was imminent from either school.
Gattis confirmed his decision in an interview with The Athletic. “It had to be something special to get me to leave something special, and this was it, man,” he said.
Gattis won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach this past season. He helped Michigan to a Big Ten championship and its first appearance in the College Football Playoff.
Michigan ranked 22nd in the nation in yards per play at 6.39 and averaged 214 yards rushing per game, 15th best in major college football and No. 1 in the Big Ten.
The news comes just days after Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh announced he was staying with his alma mater after interviewing with the Minnesota Vikings.
Harbaugh will now have to replace both of his coordinators from last year’s 12-2 team. Former defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald left last month to become the Baltimore Ravens’ defensive coordinator.
Gattis joined Harbaugh at Michigan in 2019 after stints as an assistant coach at Alabama and Penn State.
At Penn State, he was passing game coordinator and receivers coach. He worked for two seasons at Penn State with Joe Moorhead, who was Cristobal’s offensive coordinator for the last two seasons at Oregon.
Cristobal is reportedly expected to hire veteran assistant Kevin Steele as defensive coordinator. Steele was most recently defensive coordinator at Auburn in 2020.
Cristobal, a former Hurricanes’ offensive lineman, left Oregon after four full seasons as head coach to return home to Miami in December.