Florida International didn't have a great season, at 3-9, but that was understandable. The team dealt with a rash of injuries at running back, and quarterback Jake Medlock missed three games. Five losses came by eight points or less. It wasn't the kind of season that led anyone to think that coach Mario Cristobal would be fired.
FIU thought differently. Cristobal has been fired by the school, one of the most shocking firings of the season so far.
"Today we informed coach [Mario] Cristobal that a change was being made in the direction of our football program," FIU athletic director Pete Garcia said. "I want to thank coach for all that he has done [to] develop the football program over the past six seasons. We will now turn our attention to attracting the very best candidate to fill the position of head coach. We will begin a national search immediately."
On the surface, it makes no sense. Cristobal led FIU to the first bowl game in program history in 2010, and then did it again in 2011. He was getting interest from other schools that had vacancies last year, including Rutgers, but ultimately stayed with Florida International. He was from Miami, and played in college for the Hurricanes. He was just 27-47 in six seasons at FIU, but took over a program that needed a lot of work. His job turning around FIU was one of the more impressive in the country.
And now Cristobal is looking for a job. He shouldn't have too much trouble finding one.
Unless there is more to the story than FIU overreacting after one unlucky losing season, this move doesn't make a lot of sense. It won't be easy to find a comparable replacement.
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