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January 12, 2013

Revisiting Cristobal

Filed under: Coaches,Football,Hire/Fire — Chas @ 9:12 am

I’ll keep this short. No really. Last year in the search for the next Pitt football coach it appeared to come down to Mario Cristobal or Paul Chryst. I was leaning more towards Cristobal because of how far he had brought FIU in just a few years plus his recruiting ties to Miami and actual head coach experience.

The big negative against him were the suggestions that he really wanted to stay in the Miami area. That at the least he was just using the interest as a way to improve his money from FIU. The fact that he would likely bolt at the first chance if the Miami job (his alma mater) came open.  It seemed to me that too many were using that as primarily in light of the nature and brevity of the Fraud Graham tenure. Especially in relation to Cristobal’s wife.

Well, fast forward a year and FIU inexplicably fired Cristobal after one down season (that included a lot of injuries). And the FIU firing makes less sense when you realize they replaced Cristobal with Ron Turner. About the only thing that explains the stupidity, is that FIU AD Pete Garcia is the same guy who thought hiring Isiah Thomas to be a college basketball coach was a good idea.

Cristobal, though, has pretty much proven the contention that he really doesn’t want to leave the Miami area with his new job.

The former Miami offensive lineman, who transformed FIU from the biggest mess in FBS football into a team that went to back-to-back bowl games within five seasons of his arrival, only to be fired last month due to friction with athletic director Pete Garcia, is returning home to Miami. Cristobal will be the Miami Hurricanes’ new associate head coach and also will coach tight ends, two sources told Thursday morning.

The associate head coach title is relatively meaningless. It justifies the money they pay a position coach — primarily to help recruiting — and helps Cristobal save face. It’s not like he didn’t have better paying options.

Cristobal is bypassing opportunities to be an offensive coordinator at an major conference program as well as assistant offers from NFL teams to return to Miami, according to multiple sources.

In the NFL, there is no doubt Greg Schiano at Tampa Bay would have hired him. In fact, that was assumed to be where he would go. Yet, he stayed right in the Miami area.

Now, there is the reasoning that he wants to be as close to the Miami program as possible (his dream job) when/if Al Golden leaves for something else. After all, Golden has continually let his name float out there for other jobs and sanctions are still hanging over the program. It really does seem like only a matter of time.

Still, it’s not like Cristobal wouldn’t have been the strong favorite for Miami, regardless of where he was coaching. Arguably it would have strengthened his candidacy assuming he succeeded in another place. Plus, without knowing when Golden is leaving Cristobal makes it harder to land another head coaching job to improve his chances as being the best choice for Miami. Cristobal appears to have decided it’s Miami or bust for his future.

Last year. I thought, as ddid some others, Christphal was going to land the Pitt job. So I watched his bowl game and WAS NOT IMPRESSED> Not in the least, Absolutely no creativity. Very boring. And reading of his fast track wife’s affinity for Miami I was CONVINCED that Chryst was our man. For once, Pitt did it right–I think!! Best to Christophal, but THE VERY BEST TO CHRYST. Rev. George in Columbus

Comment by Rev. George Mehaffey 01.12.13 @ 9:24 am

Wasn’t he Smilin’ Steve’s choice? That would have worked out really well.

Comment by Gas 01.12.13 @ 9:31 am

Reverend, I believe we shared the same experience. I recall after watching that bowl game thinking if they hire this guy I may have to stop attending games. I have high hopes for Pitt’s future, although the QB situation for the upcoming season has me concerned.

Comment by marcus of schaumburg 01.12.13 @ 9:32 am

Good to see FSU coming to Pitt. Pitt loss to FSU in 1980 cost Pitt national championship.

Comment by Frank MD 01.12.13 @ 10:29 am

Rev. your exactly right.

Watched the FIU game expecting to see a well-oiled machine based upon all the banter about Cristobal.

Team looked totally disorganized with no direction.

And yes… Steve Pederson was sold on Cristobal until a couple of boosters with clout stepped in to offer their opinion.

We also know now that Barry Alvarez was directly involved in the hiring of Chryst.

Had Pederson not had egg on his face from the Haywood and Graham fiascos he would have had his way and goodness knows where we would be right now.

Comment by PittofDreams 01.12.13 @ 10:55 am

graham was not pedersens hire , u may even hear he cut asst salaries pissing him off, pedersen does not have the power u think ,there are some other string pullers,why don;t we hire a pitt guy for ad,ej

Comment by paul shannon 01.12.13 @ 11:03 am

I too was expecting Cristobal to be hired by Pitt, though was happy w/ the Chryst hire. I was also surprised Cristobal didn’t go for the Syracuse job, much to your point. Anyway, let me continue banging the drum of who will be the next DC and when?

Comment by Bones 01.12.13 @ 11:12 am

You can spin the firing any way you want but when you get fired at FIU, you just aren’t all that.

Comment by Floyd 01.12.13 @ 11:22 am

The dude has a hot wife. She wasn’t Pittsburgh material. No way he was ever coming to Pittsburgh and if he did, he would have pulled a Graham. Seriously, his wife is hot.

Comment by TX Panther 01.12.13 @ 11:50 am

paul, what do you mean Graham wasn’t a Pedersen hire? ot only did he interview him before he hired Haywood .,,only to find out that Graham’s asking price (approx $2m) was way more than he was offering ….. after Haywoods firing, Pedersen had to petition Nordy to meet Graham’s asking price.

You may remember Gaham’s criteri back then … he wanted an offensive, running a spread or uptemp who had HC experience

Comment by wbb 01.12.13 @ 12:23 pm

Chryst was also considered in 2010 but he scoffed at the low ball offer. Haywood, of course, took it. Petersen can only hire within his budget which is set by Nordy and the board.

Wanny may have had faults, but he was giving us one hellava home town discount and the Pitt brain trust was hoping to continue at that level.

Comment by Chuck Morris 01.12.13 @ 1:32 pm

Chuck, As understood it, they wanted Todd Graham, but he didn’t like the money they were offering either. It wasn’t until after the Heywood mess, that they upped the ante.

Comment by Justinian 01.12.13 @ 4:00 pm

wbb,our asst chance very powerful guy

Comment by paul shannon 01.12.13 @ 7:14 pm

The budget for AD salary is way too high in my opinion. Pederson remains a train wreck and has put our athletic programs behind our academic peers.

Cristobal would have been short term that is for sure. Pederson should extend Chryst now. I am also fine with waiting for the right DC. If it is a pro coach, so be it. I trust Chryst. The momentum still is with PITT! Let’s go sign a few more player’s and start working on gameplans for our opponents next year and work on recruiting.

Comment by dhuffdaddy 01.12.13 @ 11:47 pm

Terrish Webb has commited to Pitt

Comment by toga toga toga 01.13.13 @ 1:18 pm

Yes, that’s true Justinian. After the embarrassing Haywood debacle they were forced to “modernize” their pay structure and meet Graham’s (or any other serious candidate’s) expectations.

I don’t want to be seen as too critical of our school not wanting to overpay for a coach. The Pitt athletic dept is on good financial ground in contrast to other 1-A schools (Maryland is a good example). The point I would like to make is that if we want to compete in a BCS league we need to stay in the ballpark with our competition in certain areas such as facilities, coaches, etc.

Comment by Chuck Morris 01.13.13 @ 4:15 pm

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