Posted by Tom Fornelli
On Wednesday night it was reported that Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst had become the frontrunner to land the Pitt job. News that was somewhat surprising because FIU's Mario Cristobal had been rumored to be the lead candidate for the position. Well, we may now know why Cristobal's name suddenly dropped from the discussion.
According to the Miami Herald, FIU has been working to sign Cristobal to an extension. In fact, the paper calls them "aggressive negotiations." While I try to get the image of members of FIU's athletic department literally punching Cristobal in the face with contract offers, it should be pointed out that Cristobal did just get an extension from the school earlier this year.
That extension lasts through 2016.
While there's no word on how long this latest extension will be, it's pretty clear that Cristobal is a coach FIU values and really wants to keep around for as long as possible. And it's hard to blame them for it.
The program has only been around for a decade, and its rise under Cristobal has been remarkable. The Panthers won the Sun Belt Conference last season and finished the year with a win over Toledo in the Little Caesar's Bowl. While 2011 wasn't as successful, the Panthers still did reach a bowl game for the second consecutive season, losing to Marshall in the Beef O'Brady Bowl on Tuesday night.
Combine all that with 19 of 22 starters returning in 2012, and it's easy to see why FIU wants Cristobal around.