by Dave Miller
December 06, 02012
In a very surprising move, Florida International athletic director Pete Garcia dismissed Mario Cristobal after a six-season tenure that saw him completely rebuild a program that was destroyed and reached rock bottom.
This past June, Cristobal was even given a one-year contract extension after he led the Panthers to wins in 15 of their previous 22 games and went bowling in 2010 and 2011.
US PRESSWIREMario Cristobal was shockingly dismissed after a down year at FIU.
While FIU did go through a disastrous 3-9 campaign this fall, which was aided by the injury bug, Cristobal was considered one of the rising young head coaches in the FBS who seemed destined to eventually lead a bigger program.
With Steve Addazio leaving Temple to become the new head coach at Boston College, the Owls would be wise to give a hard look at Cristobal.
Think about the job that Cristobal inherited in Miami. The Golden Panthers were a winless bunch facing daunting challenges to even be semi-competitive at the FBS level. Not only did they have to deal with a ton of lost scholarships spread over more than three seasons, but this was a program without a weight room or meeting rooms.
The former star offensive lineman at Miami was hired by FIU after the 2006 season because of his excellent credentials as a recruiter, as he was the recruiting coordinator for both Miami and Rutgers. He was Greg Schiano's top assistant in New Jersey, and he very well could be reunited with Schiano in Tampa Bay with the NFL's Buccaneers if he doesn't get another head gig this offseason.
With Temple looking for a new face of the program as it enters its second season back in the Big East, the Owls should look no further than a true program-builder in Cristobal. If anyone can convince a recruit to leave the state of Florida for a colder climate, it's Cristobal, who did the same when he was with the Scarlet Knights.
To truly appreciate what Cristobal has done at FIU, one has to overlook his 27-47 overall record. He led the Panthers to their first-ever winning seasons in 2010 and 2011, which was quite a feat considering the program resembled an FCS squad.
There was a reason why he was a candidate to become the head coach at Pitt and Rutgers last offseason. If Temple was smart, its administration would take advantage of FIU's mistake and grab one of the rising talents in the coaching ranks.
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