Rumor Mill: Former FIU coach Mario Cristobal could be in talks to join Miami

Florida International Golden Panthers head coach Mario Cristobal leads the team onto the field before a game against the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks at FIU Stadium. (Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports)

Mario Cristobal was fired from his post as the head coach at Florida International following a tough 3-9 season in 2012. Now, according to CaneInsider, Cristobal is being considered for the position as wide receivers coach, recruiting coordinator and associate head coach for the Miami Hurricanes.

While that statement tells the story, it does not at all tell the story.

Mario Cristobal remains one of the most respected young coaches in all of college football despite his abrupt dismissal from the Golden Panthers. The first Cuban-American coach in the history of college football was also only the second coach in the history of the young and previously abysmal FIU football program.

Cristobal, in 2007, was tasked with turning around a team that had finished 0-12 the year prior to his arrival on campus. Within four seasons, he had led FIU not only to its first ever bowl berth, but the program’s first ever postseason win as well, beating Toledo in the Little Caesar’s Bowl, 34-32.

He led the Panthers to another postseason berth in 2011. Following the season, his phone rang incessantly with offers to coach at various schools with bigger football programs, bigger overall athletic budgets, and bigger contracts.

However, in a rare show of loyalty in the world of college football head coaches, Cristobal turned all the deals down, instead preferring to stay at FIU and continue to build the program he had turned into a winner through sheer force of will.

However, the Florida International athletic department did not show Cristobal the same loyalty, casting him aside after the team regressed in 2012.

Well, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Rarely will this cliche ring more true than in the case of Miami’s rumored pursuit of Cristobal.

Cristobal starred as a member of the 1989 and 1991 national championship-winning Miami Hurricanes football teams. He was named to the All-Big East First Team as an offensive tackle in 1992, and after spending three years playing pro ball for the Denver Broncos and then in Europe, he returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach.

He was with Miami as a graduate assistant from 1998-2000 and 2004-06 as both tight ends coach and offensive line coach. In between, he served with Rutgers under coach Greg Schiano in the same capacities.

Bringing in Cristobal for a third stint in Coral Gables would provide the ‘Canes football program with another building block as the team continues to work back towards the level of the elite under head coach Al Golden.

In another loyal move, Chip Kelly opts to stay at Oregon, spurning the NFL yet again.

  • Adam

    dont like him being named wr coach, never has been one in the past, bring him on and then bring on someone who has either played or coached WR