Earlier today the FIU Golden Panthers made the decision to part ways with head coach Mario Cristobal. Cristobal inherited a team that had only been playing football for only five years and went 0-12 in 2006. He built that into back-to-back winning seasons in 2010 and 2011 and gave the Golden Panthers their first ever winning seasons and their first ever bowl trips.
2012 was a struggle for Cristobal as the Golden Panthers fell back to earth and went 3-9. I've said time and time again that we are in the "win now" era of college football but this smells a little funny to me. Last year Cristobal came within inches of taking the Pittsburgh and Rutgers jobs but ended up back at FIU. Was the administration not happy about Cristobal sniffing around other jobs?
The FIU AD says he was unhappy with the teams performance on the field this year. I get that, but after everything Cristobal did to turn this team around you have to think that he should have been given another year especially when you look at where the FIU program came from.
The hard truth is that schools like FIU are essentially feeder schools for the bigger schools with more money. Like it or not, jobs in the Sun Belt and the MAC (and other conferences of the ilk) aren't going to be career jobs for most coaches. The promise of money and fame at the BCS schools is simply too much for them to overcome in the coaching wars. The schools can not take that personally and should understand the term "succession planning" as it really is a key for the mid-major schools. Is FIU going to get a better candidate than Cristobal? There are rumors of Butch Davis. Maybe that's why they let Cristobal go because it certainly wasn't his performance on the field.