Blog Entry

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

Posted on: December 20, 2011 9:48 am
Edited on: December 20, 2011 1:22 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson

Pittsburgh's search to replace Todd Graham as the head football coach has slowed since the weekend's interviews, possibly because school officials are waiting for a response from the reported frontrunner: Florida International head coach Mario Cristobal.

Paul Zeise, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reports that Cristobal emerged from the weekend as the leading candidate to become the next Panthers football coach, but asked the school to hold off any further discussions until after FIU's bowl game. Cristobal's Golden Panthers squad will make its second-straight postseason appearance against Marshall in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl on Tuesday night.

Cristobal interviewed with the school last week, but the Panthers have back-up plans if the Miami native chooses to stay put with the Golden Panthers. Ohio State defensive coordinator -- and interim coach for 2011 -- Luke Fickell as well as Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst are the other known candidates for the vacant position. The report in the Gazette cited a source close to one of those candidates that suggested Pitt was "waiting for something" before moving forward. It is believed the school will wait for the completion of Tuesday's bowl game before gauging the interest of Cristobal.

No formal offers have been made by the school to any candidates, but all three would fit the mold Pittsburgh is looking for in their next coach. Of course, the Panthers thought Todd Graham fit that mold as well, but the most high-octane aspect from Graham's time in Pittsburgh was the speed of his exit. The school is looking for a coach to re-energize the storied program that has only claimed a share of two conference titles since 1980.

Defensive coordinator Keith Patterson will serve as the interim head coach when the Panthers face SMU in the BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 7 in Birmingham.

Get set for Mario Cristobal and FIU's showdown in Tuesday's Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl against Marshall at the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl Pregame

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Since: Jul 9, 2010
Posted on: December 21, 2011 6:24 pm

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

I love the history of PITT Football, and really feel their football program will come back after they get settled down in the ACC. From what I know and have heard, Mario Cristobal is an energetic go-getter, a good coach, and knows what one needs to do to build a competitive program from the ground up. I don't really have a lot of confidence with Steve Pederson as the AD at PITT.  Mr. Pederson has not demonstrated a very good reputation with building good football programs at several schools. I hope this does not play into Mario's decision to turn down PITT.  I think Mario would do well as head coach at PITT and build that program back to prominence in the ACC. My guess is the earliest PITT will compete in the ACC is 2013. 

Since: Dec 20, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 2:18 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: December 20, 2011 8:34 pm

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

I hope he is high octane.

Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: December 20, 2011 8:29 pm

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

Somebody should tell Pederson Pitt is division 1 bcs eligible when hiring a coach

Since: Mar 9, 2008
Posted on: December 20, 2011 8:24 pm

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

I would leave FIU in 2 seconds.  It's in the crappiest town on the planet (DORAL) with the worst fan base in the country. Not to mention FIU "thinks" it's a big time school but it's nothing more than a Community College with a lot of commuters.  Absolute craphole.  Look into the "Crystal Ball" Cristobal and get out of cow country!

Since: Nov 18, 2007
Posted on: December 20, 2011 7:31 pm

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

The second half of FIU's season has been just Ok, so I'm a little surprised that Cristobal has moved to the top of Pitt's list.

Since: Jun 13, 2011
Posted on: December 20, 2011 6:44 pm

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

What's your track record on this, and what's your win percentage overall in College games, and pro if you prime time handicap them Money mouth

Since: Sep 22, 2009
Posted on: December 20, 2011 5:02 pm

Report: FIU's Cristobal 'front-runner' for Pitt

Pitt is an academic institution that continues to garner negative press for its athletic stumblings of late. Pitt has an outstanding educational reputation. Secondly they have practice and weight room facilities that rival, if not surpass all the major universities that typically finished ranked in the polls. Third, Pitt puts kids in the NFL, at least five last year are on professional rosters. Their problem is that they have a meddling and incompetent AD.

If I was a prospective coach who didn't understand the politics of the institution, I would not consider the Pitt job unless I reported directly to the Chancellor.  Dave Wannstedt was fired for taking on the AD and lost. His record was pretty good over his last three seasons and his recruiting was spot on (except at qb). He just couldn't get along with the AD.  To cover for some off the field problems with players, the AD took a stance that he wanted to go to the next level, with integrity and moral character. Wannstedt had one bad year with kids getting into trouble. The AD hired a wife beater and a coach that bolted 11 months into a long term deal, because of a wife...alegedly. More coward than wife pressure i presume. High character and integrity hiring flaws in the candidates notwithstanding, the AD still sits above the program. Dave Wannstedt struggled with in-game management and I proposed an in-game coach to handle strategic issues with complete autonomy and submitted that to the AD for consideration.

The last football hires from Mr. Pederson were....Callahan, Haywood and Graham. If that isn't a career killer for an AD, name me three worse hires for any respective competitive universities. Nebraska saw through the smiling assassin and let him go, with Tom Osbourne acting as the AD figurehead. Mister Osbourne is still digging out of the Pederson mess, but appears to have corrected the issue. They are performing well.

As a reminder, Jamie Dixon was not a Pederson hire.

Since: Jan 19, 2008
Posted on: December 20, 2011 4:37 pm

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

Goldpanther, you could be right. (About the job, I mean, not the hiding in a bedroom part. Tongue out) I realize that what I said may have come across as a putdown of Pitt. Didn't really mean it that way. Long term Pitt will continue to be a force in basketball and should make a strong comeback in football. I personally think the ACC hit a homerun in adding Pitt; I would have loved to have brought them into the Big Ten fold. My comments were based on the unique situation Fickell has at OSU. As a former all-conference player and four year starter for the Buckeyes, he has always been liked and respected in the area. Most people feel he did a commendable job this year in a no-win situation. If he stays on as an assistant head coach under Meyer, and if Meyer brings the program to same levels of success he's enjoyed everywhere he's been, then Fickell would be poised to take over in a few years under very different circumstances than he had to deal with this year. I think that would be a win for him. If he went to Pitt, I think the risk:reward is higher. He would be stepping into another difficult circumstance and would find himself scrambling to hold a recruiting class together and implement a system. If I'm Cristobal, accepting a job at a really good university in one of the great sports towns in the country would be a no-brainer. If I'm Fickell, I'm not so sure. But hey, that's me. Fickell himself may see it very differently.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: December 20, 2011 3:53 pm

Report: FIU's Cristobal is 'frontrunner' for Pitt

This seems like a solid hire, if they can get him. However, I would be afraid that he would leave as soon as a Florida head coaching position became available, which I wouldn't blame him for taking as long as he does it with class.  However. this is Peterson we are talking about.  I am not going to count my chickens before they hatch.


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