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Turner's introduction

My news story posted at http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/04/3168173/ron-turner-joins-fiu-panthers.html a few hours ago.

Now, for other stuff that didn't make the story for lack of space...

Most of FIU's football staff attended to smile, shake hands with the new boss and wait for him to declare himself their old boss. If any are headed to the American Football Coaches Association to do any job hunting, they're doing so on their own dime. Turner said he'd prefer to bring potential assistants to him rather than play in the coaches mixer that is the convention.

"I've gone to the coaches convention as a head coach when you have jobs. It's not a lot of fun," Turner said. "I'd rather be here having a chance to get to know some of our players. I've got some names of some guys. I want to talk to the current staff and get a feel for them. Then, talk to some names that I have. I'd rather bring them here and get them to see this. They come in and see what's going on here and get caught up in the passion, it's like recruits -- you have a better chance to get them. Calling them and talking on the phone...some of them have never been here. They don't know much about the campus or the university or the football program. I want a chance to get them here to see and feel what's going on."

Garcia said, “We are going to emphasize special teams. We’re going to have a special teams coordinator who is devoted solely to special teams. I think only nine other teams in the country have that. There’s no reason why, in South Florida, with the athletes we have here, you shouldn’t win special teams on a weekly basis.”

Garcia also figures Turner probably will call the plays and work with the quarterbacks.

Some current FIU players attended the introductory press conference. Turner plans to have a team meeting early next week, probably Tuesday, and said he wants to schedule a time to meet with players' families.

“For me to truly know what these guys are about and get to know them as well as I want to where I can help them to achieve their goals, it’s important to know their families," he said. "To know where they’re from, what kind of upbringing they’ve had.

"I made that mistake when I went to Illinois. I got to know the families of the kids we recruited and I got to know the families of the kids on the team. I didn’t reach out to get to know the families of the kids who were already there.”

Not spotted there Friday (at least by me), though mentioned often by Turner, was FIU President Mark Rosenberg. Rosenberg did attend the announcement in the same room months ago of the move to Conference USA. I can't recall if he was at the Richard Pitino introduction last spring. Then again, that's basketball and this is a metropolitan area of college basketball philistines. Head football coach isn't the most important position at FIU. It is, however, the most visible. Applications increased dramtically after the Little Ceasar's Pizza Bowl win. The president was involved in keeping Mario Cristobal at each pivotal point in 2011 and 2012. To not be there for the public introduction of Turner doesn't seem right.

Turner was speaking of Garcia and Rosenberg when he said, “I could see the passion. That they’ve got a committment that they want to be the best, that losing is not an option. That this program is going to be successful, and they’re going to give me as the head coach, the director of this program, all the resources necessary to run a very good, clean program that’s going to continue to climb.”

That last part struck me as interesting. One of the consistent carps of the previous staff -- and, really, more than a few FIU coaches over the years across sports -- was the lack of resources compared to those whom the school would like to consider its peers. "Resources" include everything from money for assistant coaches, office goods and program infrastructure to a practice field and a larger academic support system for athletes (Garcia said that doesn't fall under athletics, however). Illinois' athletic department budget at the end of Turner's time there was about twice what FIU's is now without adjusting for inflation.

Illinois came up and Turner described his nine-season stay in Champaign, which began with an 0-11 team, included two bowl teams, then did the Coyote (Eatibus Anythingus) over the cliff the last three seasons:

"The way we got it going there was we recruited some guys who love football. That have a passion for the game, a toughness, who are committed to being successful. I look back on those guys, those are the guys who were texting me today or calling me and wishing me good luck. It was all based on a committment to football. A passion for the game of football, a toughness. A lot of them had that and then we had to teach them, 'Now, you've got to have that passion for the classroom and everytyhing else' beacuse their focus was football, football, football. And 90 percent of the guys who come out, that's what it is.  But you help direct their energy to help them understand that the academic side is just as important. And we had a pretty good quarterback (Kurt Kittner).

"After that class left, we dropped down a little bit but we also had a very young class that was heading in the right direction and was going to get back on track because they had the same qualities. That's what we're going to try to recruit here."

The Zooker might disagree. Ron Zook took over from Turner and went 2-9, then 2-10 before his own recruiting classes began to take over the program. Just for comparison's sake, at the same school, Zook went 34-51 at Illinois with three bowl appearances in seven seasons. Turner went 35-57 with two bowl appearances in eight seasons. So, not much difference between the Rons in the same job over almost the same amount of time.

Turner admitted while he's an offensive guy, defense wins titles. When FIU led the Sun Belt in defense, scoring defense and turnover margin in 2010: co-conference title and bowl game. When FIU led the Sun Belt in sacks, pass efficiency defense and was 15th nationally in scoring defense: bowl game. When FIU was last in The Belt in scoring defense and 65th nationally in total defense: 3-9.


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Well, I guess we will never hear "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey might have said,but here is hoping Coach Turner can hit the ground running and somehow avert another doormat season. Worst thing about last year was watching such BORING football. Three yard pass and a cloud of dust. Four man rush. Never an adjustment. And 9 losses to boot. There's x's and o's for you. Good luck to Coach T.

David: Keep pursuing the truth. This is no longer just a story about football coaches. Cristobal and Turner are part of the same fraternity. They will do well individually. Cristobal could end up working alongside Davis, Schiano or Chudzinski, all of whom know and love Cristobal for his abilities. This is now a story about something that has gone on behind the scenes at a major university that might be similar in some ways to the Nevin Shapiro scandal. Garcia and Rosenberg are state employees and will be judged as such. What FIU insiders are discussing today are:

-- The reason for Rosenberg's absence yesterday

It is alleged that he was advised by legal counsel and the trustees to stay out of the media spotlight. This has to do with trustees' concerns with the negative buzz about the way the coaching change was handled, not the selection itself. It is also believed that the many posts about Garcia and Maury have caused much internal distress because there is always some truth to what is said. If these were allegations of one disgruntled former employee, they could be dismissed. However, there appears to be a growing record of possible inappropriate actions on the part of Garcia and Maury involving prostitutes, trips to Vegas and the possible NCAA-forbidden use of items, including air travel on a jet linked to Maury's company. Also, the former AD employee Perdomo and how Madique swept the possible scandal involving her and Garcia under the rug is resurfacing. This has not sat well with some of the older trustees and could end up in Garcia's forced resignation. Maury might disappear quietly at the conclusion of his chairman's term this year.

-- The truth is all that matters. If these shenangians went on under Garcia unchecked and Rosenberg backed down under Maury's pressure when Garcia's termination was imminent, shame on all of them. The Miami Herald readers have a right to know this. Cristobal is a blue-collar Cuban-American who has neither the wealth nor immorality to play in the circles of Maury, Garcia and others who allegedly traded FIU opportunities for power and money. Just look at the name of the bank on the basketball arena. This financial institution is in shambles. FIU can do better than this for us as supporters and former students who helped to make the university a great one.

^^^^ sounds like someone has an axe to grind. File a complaint with the Florida Board of Governors. Otherwise your actions online may be considered slander. There is no such thing as anonymity.


Do a public records request for Garcia's FIU credit card records. You will probably get the runaround again from FIU by whoever Garcia has wined and dined or Garcia might say that his credit card records are private because they are part of the FIU Foundation.

Don't believe that. The FIU Foundation wants nothing to do with Garcia. Have the Miami Herald lawyers look into that.

Keep digging. You and the Herald are getting closer to the dirty truth behind Garcia, Albert Maury and how they have President Mark Rosenberg in a corner.

And check with the higher ups at FIU and with members of the board of trustees and they will all tell you that it was NO coincidence that Rosenberg was not at the new FIU football coach's press conference.

The firing of Mario Cristobal to hire a losing coach (42-61 career record for Turner) who was choice number 94 on Garcia's coaching wish list after the first 93 choices were Butch Davis has put Garcia on the hot seat at FIU.

RC, I'm not sure your aware what the Shapiro scandal was about. You just look stupid.

Just saw the press conference. BORING!!! He reminds me of a mix of Cam Cameron and Don Strock.


What do you want? Do you want a guy like Cristobal who was an awesome public speaker but can't coach a high school team?

I take my chances with Turner.

Butch WILL be the FIU coach. Awesome hire, GO FIU!

Posted by: Blue&GoldHeart | December 24, 2012 at 04:25 PM

Blue&goldheart only spoke on what we were lead to believe was a done deal. We all can agree that MC didn't have a clue when it came to strategy and play calling. It's also obvious that PG did not conduct a thorough search for a qualified "Head coach."

Robert Clairborne, aka, "RC" and Patrick Bateman: you guys better be careful if you don't have evidence to back up what you're saying. And what exactly are you saying? You have yet to allege one thing that Pete Garcia and/or Albert Maury did that is against NCAA rules. What is specifically the NCAA violation(s) your are alleging? How do you know who paid for any of these alleged trips? Please lay out for us exactly what the improprieties were.

To compare anything that has gone on at FIU to what has happened at UM over decades is a digrace and proves that you are an uneducated digruntled bufoon.

I'm not defeding the way the firing of Mario Cristobal was handled. I'm not defending this hire. I will withhold judgement until after national signing day. But to make these kinds of statements against the leadership of FIU because you don't agree with the firing and hiring of the football coaches is inappropriate.

No one brought up UM.

To quote RC: "this is now a story about something that has gone on behind the scenes at a major university that might be similar in some ways to the Nevin Shapiro scandal."

Ever heard of Nevin Shapiro, Cual? Probably not if you're a UM guy/gal. Google it and get educated.

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