In a shocking development this morning, we learned that FIU has decided to part ways with head coach Mario Cristobal.
Cristobal took over Florida International in December of 2006, after successful assistant coaching stints at Miami and Rutgers working with the offensive line and tight ends. Cristobal was just the second head coach in FIU's history and took over a team that had just finished the 2006 season at 0-12. They hired Cristobal, in part, because of his deep ties to the state of Florida as a player and coach, and his proven success on the recruiting trail.
In his first season, the Golden Panthers lost their first 11 games, and had lost 23 straight dating back before his hiring, which was the longest streak in the country at that time. The last game of the season, FIU beat North Texas to end the streak, and they continued to make strides in the right direction each season that followed.
Prior to their 7-6 season in 2010, the program had never finished a season with a winning record. That season they also locked up a share of the Sun Belt title. They continued to step in the right direction last season with an overall record of 8-5, which included a bowl trip for the second straight season (which ended in a loss in the Beef O'Brady Bowl).
Following the 8-5 finish last year, Mario Cristobal was a hot name when the coaching carousel started to heat up in the offseason, with his name being mentioned at both Rutgers and Penn State, among others.
This season, FIU suffered a rash of injuries, and lost some key players to graduation, and struggled to a 3-9 finish. In his head coaching career, Cristobal exits FIU after six seasons and an overall record of 27-47 and 20-26 in conference play.
Take it from us, it won't take long for some program, or head coach, to pick up Cristobal. He's known in the profession as a quality, results driven coach, and kills it on the recruiting trail (especially in talent rich Florida).