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FIU makes Cristobal extension official

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In June it was reported that FIU was closing in on a new contract for head football coach Mario Cristobal.

Nearly a month later, the new deal has come to fruition.

In a press release, athletic director Pete Garcia announced that the two sides have reached an agreement on a pact that could technically keep Cristobal at the school through the 2017 season.  He had previously been signed through the 2016 season, an agreement that was reached in August of last year.

“Coach (Mario) Cristobal is one of the top head football coaches in America,” said Garcia in a statement. “He continues to raise the bar for our football program on and off the field, and the last two seasons have shown you can win championships at FIU.”

The release also addressed the financial aspect of the new contract:

With a base salary above $450,000, Cristobal will have available performance bonuses over $100,000. The annual operating budget to the football program also increased by $100,000, with $50,000 allocated towards a retention bonus for Cristobal and the remaining added towards salary and benefits for assistant coaches.

USA Today had previously reported that Cristobal earned a total of $497,000 in 2011.

The 41-year-old Cristobal has spent the past five seasons as the Panthers head coach, compiling a record of 24-38, although his teams are 15-11 in the past two seasons.  He also led FIU to its first Sun Belt Conference title in 2010.

In addition to Rutgers and Pitt, Cristobal had also drawn the interest of Houston and Southern Miss in the last spinning of the coaching carousel.  He was also one of the early betting favorites as a permanent replacement for Bobby Petrino at Arkansas.

It is a privilege to be at FIU,” added Cristobal. “I want to thank our University administration and Pete (Garcia) for continuing to support of the football program. Their commitment is a testament to our student-athletes, coaches and support staff (athletics and academics).

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