In the wake of Carl Pelini’s abrupt exit, the Florida Atlantic Owls find themselves on the lookout for a coach. FAU may stay in-house; they may perform a national search. Whatever route they take, there is one choice too logical for university administration to ignore: Mario Cristobal. Rarely do the stars align for a program looking for a new leader. Here are five reasons why FAU must reach out to Cristobal.
- Familiarity: Cristobal is from South Florida; he played offensive tackle for Miami; he coached at rival FIU; and he’s Cuban. The man knows South Florida better than possibly any coach in the country. As a Cuban man, he can walk into any house in any rough-and-tumble neighborhood and make parents feel comfortable. Fish, meet barrel.
- Pedigree: Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson, Butch Davis, Greg Schiano, Nick Saban. Those are the coaches Cristobal has played for or coached under. He has learned from the very best in the profession.
- Track Record: Cristobal was the second head coach in FIU football history. He essentially built the program up from the ground. The team went from winless to conference champions during his tenure. Cristobal was also influential in the Rutgers renaissance under Greg Schiano. If there’s one thing Cristobal can do well, it’s build a program into a contender. He is patient and knows what it takes to win.
- Loyalty: The man stayed with FIU after getting looks from Pittsburgh and Rutgers. He was born to coach in South Florida. He knows it. He will stay during the good times and bad.
- Troll FIU: It’s widely acknowledged that FIU was stupid for letting Cristobal go. They were tempted by the fruit of another (Butch Davis) who declined the opportunity to return to Miami. Cristobal has potential to be a great coach. He could be FAU’s Chris Petersen. What better way to stick it to rival FIU than hiring the man they were dumb enough to let go. This man has fallen in FAU’s lap, now the ball is in their hands.