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Mario speaks about The Blind Side

I knew Mario Cristobal flew into Atlanta last night. According to what former FIU commit Brett Sheehan, a Suwanee (Ga.) Collins Hill quarterback, Cristobal was in the Sheehan home last night.

Clearly,  he didn't know he was about 12 hours from "former FIU head football coach" Mario Cristobal.

"Very puzzling," he said Wednesday afternoon by phone, his low, halfting tone of voice screaming of his surprise.

He ran through the summary of FIU football when he arrived -- coming off 0-12, an APR among the worst in the country, about to get slammed with a 30-scholarship punishment and go on five years of probation.

"In four or five years, we quickly put FIU on the map nationally," Cristobal said. "We gave FIU an identity. We went to two bowl games, won a conference title, beat a BCS opponent. The importance of getting into Conference USA was emphasized and we helped do that. It's obviously puzzling and shocking after a year when we had so many critical injuries at key spots and close losses."

Cristobal said he's already getting calls about other jobs. "Obviously people recognize what we've done as a program, one of the better stories over the past couple of years."

He didn't want to say much more. But anybody who knows Cristobal, who looks at his career, realizes that what kept him at FIU was the kids he recruited and that he's 305. He didn't want to move his family from here. And I do know that even as this season spun out, he didn't regret the decisions he made last December (Pitt) or February (Rutgers). 

By the way, Carol City's Simeon Thomas, a 6-3 2013 commit that was part of what looked like an excellent haul of defensive back recruits, said on Twitter he didn't know if he was still coming to FIU.

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Thank you Mario for all your hard work at FIU! Best of luck.

PG needs to work on how to let people go, regardless I will support FIU's next coach. Looking forward to see who we hire.

Should've given him another year.

wrong, wrong, wrong! FIU made a mistake. This guy is a winner. While I have never been crazy about his game day coaching, his other attributes like recruiting, love for FIU football, commitment to the program, and positive attitude earned him at least another year or two. Obviously, college football is now big business but still what is another year or two when the program is still in its infancy (ok toddler stage)? BGH must be high as a kite. We may regret this move in 3 - 4 years. Time will tell if it is a positive or negative. But for now it looks like a big mistake on the part of Pete Garcia.

Good coverage DJN! Seems like many fans interested in FIU.

Great job getting this interview DJN. I am shocked but have to believe PG has something big lined up just as when he fired Isiah. Thank you Mario, you did an amazing job.

GO FIU!

It is the best day at FIU Football since we won the Pizza Bowl. Cristobal would have never taken FIU to the next level because he is pretty mediocre. He did a mediocre job here at FIU earning one Bowl appearence (last year was a political move taking a much more deserving WKU out of a Bowl) in six years. Other coaches in the SBC transformed teams a lot quicker and were able of keep them up. Not Cristobal.

PG Cheers.

Who Cares? It all about the U!

I'm totally disappointed. I have season tickets and kept renewing them because of the kids and talent he was bringing in... I'm also going to miss sitting next to his hot wife :(
http://www.leadingladiesleague.org/aboutus.html

Thanks for the coverage on FIU Football, sports in general, and for all that has happened with Mario and football today.

Bring in butch!

Given the current economic realities of our country, it is a slap in the face to taxpayers to have to foot the bill for firing a coach who a year a go was considered by many to be one of the young up and coming hot coaches in the country, only to now go after a higher profile coach who will demand more money. If FIU's economics are so strong to afford these types of moves, then they should get a reduction in the funds they get from the state AKA us through our taxes and by the way, this coment also applies to all state schools who are paying so much for coaches while the academic portion of their business suffers.....very sad indeed!

wrong board 'Peter'. I think you need to post this at the 'no one gives a damn what you say' board....but thank you.

BG&H, you don't really get it, do you? Have you ever wondered why your opinions are generally dismissed. Are you clairvoyant and see things that others don't? A football expert? Do you hold everything in your life to such heightened levels/standards? Do you realize that we are talking about FIU football and C-USA? Do you really believe that there is a coach out there that will ever meet your expectations short of, maybe, Saban or Urban?

I understand the jerks that come on here to badmouth FIU - these are the mentally troubled losers that get a kick out of upsetting others. But you? with your constant pessimistic, sky-is-falling, Cristobal stinks mantra, I wonder if your are either mentally challenged or a plant to get others talking. Surely, you must at some lucid point realize that Cristobal was a God-send, even with his numerous imperfections. Yes, he was average on gameday. Yes, he had many within the ADs office that hated him. Yes, he was perceived as a jerk by many (including Rick Sanchez). But coaching, like everything, is complicated, and this guy was pretty good. Take another look, and this time try to be just a bit unbiased. This may turn out to be great for FIU in the long term (5 -10 years out). But many a smart folk would argue that firing Cristobal was a blunder as big, or bigger, than the enormity of your constant negativity and pessimism. I feel sorry for your wife, girlfriend, or significant other -- she may never come close to meeting your lofty expectations. God forbid she ever gains a pound or makes a mistake.

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