Florida International University fired head football coach Mario Cristobal this week after the school experienced a dismal 3-9 record in the 2012 season.
FIU Athletic director Pete Garcia made the announcement Wednesday morning, calling FIU’s most recent season ”a total collapse.”
“Today we informed Coach (Mario) Cristobal that a change was being made in the direction of our football program,” Garcia said in a statement. “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 attract the very best candidate to fill the position of head coach. We will begin a national search immediately.”
Prior to his time at FIU, Cristobal spent two stints at the University of Miami — between 1998-2000 as a graduate assistant and 2004-2006 as tight ends coach and offensive line coach.
During 2001-2003, Cristobal was a tight ends and offensive line coach at Rutgers University under Greg Schiano. He was named head coach at FIU in 2006, after the Golden Panthers finished 0-12.
In his six seasons as coach of the Panthers, Cristobal was 27-47 and led team to their first Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2010. Cristobal also took home conference coach of the year honors in 2010.
Yahoo! Sports notes that in 2011, Mario was getting interest from other schools that had vacancies, but ultimately stayed with Florida International.
With Cristobal’s departure, current Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant Butch Davis is the front-runner for the now vacant FIU coaching position, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Florida International is moving to Conference USA next season.