With the sudden — and slimy — departure by Todd Graham from Pittsburgh to Arizona State, there are now two jobs open in Pennsylvania that, not too long ago, were considered premier gigs… or very close to being.
Pittsburgh has fallen off that upper echelon a bit, although it’s definitely still a good job; Penn State is dealing — and will deal for some time — with the fallout of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but the right guy can keep that program going strong.
Of course, therein lies the problem: finding the right guy.
But one name that has been a little low on the coaching carousel rumors, but could pick up momentum very soon, is Florida International coach Mario Cristobal.
On the Paul Finebaum show today, CBS’ Bruce Feldman echoed that sentiment.
“To me, Mario Christobal, with his personality, would make a good fit for Penn St.” Feldman said.
Cristobal has done an outstanding job building the FIU program from a one-win team in 2007 into one that will go to its second bowl game in a row. The W-L stats don’t reflect it, but Cristobal a tough, focused guy who could be just what Penn State needs to get through the toughest time in the program’s history.
Cristobal’s name has also been connected with the Pitt job, according to multiple media outlets in the area. The initial feeling is that Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads would be the first person Pitt AD Steve Pederson speaks to, but Cristobal may not be far down that list.
Even if Cristobal doesn’t get, or turns down (hey, you never know), either of those jobs, he should be a coach to keep an eye on in the coming years.