FIU Coach Mario Cristobal Probably Isn't Going Anywhere, for Now Anyway
Breathe easy, Golden Panthers fans. Despite some murmurs that he was the frontrunner for the Pitt job, head coach Mario Cristobal isn't going anywhere. ESPN reports that Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst will take that job, while the Miami Herald reports that FIU is in aggressive negotiations with Cristobal to extend his contract.
Cristobal actually already received a contract extension before the beginning of this season that would have kept him around until 2016 anyway, but the Herald reports FIU is looking to sweeten the deal to ensure that it keeps Cristobal. The details of those negotiations aren't known, but they also include other improvements to the football program.
It's also not known whether Pitt decided to pass on Cristobal or whether he decided he didn't want that job. Cristobal is a Miami native and a former player and assistant coach at the University of Miami. In other words, he's a "305 till I die" kind of guy, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, while reporting that he was the favorite for the Pitt opening, cautioned that he might not be so keen on leaving South Florida.
Regardless, even if FIU offers him a sweet contact extension, this probably won't be the last time we hear Cristobal's name in connection with openings at larger programs. In just five seasons, he has turned around FIU from a laughable upstart program to one of the hottest teams in the mid-majors with two straight bowl appearances. It's also worth noting that the team's 8-4 regular-season record tied with FSU as the best record of any Division I FBS program in the entire state this season.
We wouldn't be surprised if the only school that could ever pry him away is, well, just a few miles away in Coral Gables.
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