Mario Cristobal

Mario Cristobal’s name picking up steam in the coaching carousel


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.

Charting the 2011 Coaching Carousel

Wisconsin v Illinois

With the end of the regular season — for most schools — upon us, it means one very important thing for fans looking for a new direction for their football program: the spinning of the annual coaching carousel will begin in earnest and not stop for another couple of months. Below is a chart that will be updated as warranted in order to keep you abreast of all of the moves made during the 2012 version of the Coaching Killing Fields.

Note: names will not be added until their dismissals/resignations/retirements have been confirmed by the respective schools. This will heretofore be known as the Zook Principle. Or “The Rule of Zook”, if you prefer.

* — retired
** — interim head coach
*** — moves to Div. 1-A from Div. 1-AA in 2012


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Pete Carroll has had a busy few weeks at USC.When he hasn’t been busy locking in another stellar recruiting class for the Trojans, or getting castigated for speaking his mind about outgoing quarterback Mark Sanchez, he’s been filling massive voids on his coaching staff, which look to be finally complete, after new offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates replaced coach Carl Smith, who left the job he took with the Trojans for the Cleveland Browns, less than two weeks after agreeing with the Trojans.Replacing both coordinators (your offensive coordinator twice), finding a new defensive line coach, promoting your linebackers coach, cutting your Hawaiian vacation short to watch your starting quarterback leave school early, all before jetting out to the presidential inauguration?It’s no wonder that many consider Carroll the hardest working coach in America.He’s even found time to twitter about it.

Arizona State might lose another OC to FBS head-coaching job

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 25:  Head coach Todd Graham of the Arizona State Sun Devils reacts during the second half of play against the Washington Huskies at Husky Stadium on October 25, 2014 in Seattle, Washington. The Arizona State Sun Devils won the game 24-10. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Todd Graham has already lost one offensive coordinator during the latest spinning of the coaching carousel, with Mike Norvell leaving to become the head coach at Memphis.  Now, Graham could be losing Norvell’s replacement.

Coming off the surprising announcement this weekend that Todd Monken had left his job as head coach at Southern Miss for a position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Now, is reporting, Graham’s new offensive coordinator, Chip Lindsey, has been “engaged in significant discussions” to replace Monken.

From the coaching website:

Lindsey, sources tell FootballScoop, is weighing the option including considering the ramifications of the timing of accepting the opportunity. There is a possibility, we hear, of this lingering a bit longer than expected but will be pressure to make it happen.

Lindsey was hired away from Southern Miss to replace Norvell this past December. Lindsey had spent the past two seasons as Monken’s coordinator before leaving for the Sun Devils.

The Southern Miss job would be Lindsey’s first at the collegiate level in a coaching career that stretches back to 1997.

Jim Mora, Kevin Sumlin and David Shaw once again linked to NFL coaching rumor mill

STANFORD, CA - NOVEMBER 30:  Stanford Cardinal head coach David Shaw shakes hands with UCLA Bruins head coach Jim Mora after the Cardinal beat the UCLA Bruins  27-24 in the Pac-12 Championship game at Stanford Stadium on November 30, 2012 in Stanford, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The next 24 hours will be worth paying attention to as the NFL season concludes and head coaches get the ax at their respective franchises. Black Monday may be getting off to an early start this Sunday with reports suggesting there could be a coaching change at Cleveland, San Francisco, New York, and New Orleans in addition to already open spots like Philadelphia (Chip Kelly is welcome back in college football). The college coaching carousel has already come to a stop, but that will not prevent some trendy names from the college ranks from being tied to various NFL rumors.

Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and UCLA head coach Jim Mora continue to be buzzworthy names floated by some NFL reporters, and Stanford’s David Shaw will continue to be thrown into the mix as well.

Mora and Sumlin may have seen their stock as a head coach take a blemish this season with the way the Bruins went down in flames in big spots once again this season and the way Sumlin cannot seem to keep quarterbacks in town for very long. Shaw has been the most successful coach of the three on a steady basis, but he appears to be comfortable at Stanford, where he has taken over for Jim Harbaugh and cemented Stanford as the top college football program in the state of California and won multiple Pac-12 titles.

So hang in there, college football fans. The coaching carousel is never fully closed until the NFL says it is. And as always, remember that much of this will be generated and fueled by agents looking for new contracts.