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.

Report: Les Miles not in the mix in Purdue head coaching search

BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 28:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers look on during the game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Tiger Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
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One of the bigger storylines of this offseason is the annual coaching carousel and where former LSU head coach Les Miles will land.

The longtime coach has stated he wants to coach again in 2017, and has plenty of credentials — over 100 wins, SEC and national championships — but where he will find a fit is one of the bigger mysteries.

A lot of folks have noted that he could be in the running for the Purdue job (Miles is a Big Ten man at heart) but it appears that will not be the case. According to Sports Illustrated’s Pete Thamel, a source told him to cross Miles’s name off of Purdue’s list.

There are not a ton of big openings at the moment so with the Boilermakers reportedly off the table, it might be a long offseason for the former LSU coach. Western Kentucky’s Jeff Brohm and Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck have been the two biggest names mentioned with the Purdue search but it appears unlikely any movement happens before this weekend.

Thamel also mentions Miles could be in the mix at Houston, which would be fascinating given his years at Oklahoma State and over a decade spent a few hours East in Baton Rouge. Either way, it looks like the carousel has a few more spins left in it this month.

Report: Baylor focusing on several big names for head coaching position

WACO, TX - OCTOBER 15:  Baylor Bears fans cheer as the Bears take on the Kansas Jayhawks in the second quarter on October 15, 2016 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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As Baylor’s season has progressed, it’s become increasingly clear that interim head coach Jim Grobe is unlikely to be retained by the school as they search for a long term replacement for dismissed coach Art Briles.

While the Bears still have three games and a bowl left to play, speculation is already starting to turn to what candidates the program will look at for their vacancy. According to a report from 247Sports and another one from CBS Sports, Baylor’s short list includes Houston’s Tom Herman, SMU’s Chad Morris and even ex-LSU coach Les Miles.

The inclusion of Herman makes plenty of sense considering he is the hottest name on the coaching carousel for just about every opening and is fresh off an upset win over No. 5 Louisville on Thursday night. Adding to the intrigue, Baylor’s new athletic director Mack Rhoades was actually the one who hired Herman from Ohio State to be the Cougars’ head coach.

Still, it seems like a bit of a long shot for Baylor to hire Herman given the still-unfolding sexual assault scandal that has rocked the school and the fact that his name has frequently been linked to bigger openings like LSU and other jobs such as Oregon and Texas. That’s why it’s no surprise to see Morris, who has done a great job turning around SMU and is superbly familiar with the state, and Miles on the list.

No matter where Baylor turns however, they figure to have one of the more interesting coaching searches in all of college football over the coming weeks and months.