We have learned that Florida International has tabbed Ron Turner as its next head coach. The move comes as a surprise to most, as Turner last worked in the college game in 2004. Nearly a full month after removing head coach Mario Cristobal, FIU's hiring of Turner is the 28th of this off-season, filling the last open open job at this time.
A native of Martinez, Calif., Turner did most of his college coaching on the West Coast, working Pacific, his alma mater, before moving on to Arizona, USC, Stanford and earning his first head coaching job at San Jose State in 1992. Turner served as the head coach at Illinois from 1997-04, where he posted a winning record in two of his eight seasons but led the Fighting Illini to the 2001 Big Ten title.
Turner then moved on to the NFL, first as the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears from 2005-09, helping the Bears reach Super Bowl XLI, before spending two years with the Indianapolis Colts and coaching quarterbacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2012 season.
Turner's penchant for putting points on the board will be imperative at FIU, as he takes over a team that went 3-9 in 2012 and scored 21 points or less in six of its 12 outings. In the NCAA's official rankings, the Golden Panthers finished 2012 80th in rushing offense, 56th in passing efficiency, 80th in total offense and 83rd in scoring offense. Quarterback Jake Medlock, who will be a junior next season, led FIU with 2,127 passing yards for 13 touchdowns against two interceptions.