Posted by Chip Patterson
UPDATE: CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reports that Rutgers and FIU head coach Mario Cristobal were never on the same page with regard to possible contract terms, and Cristobal will remain with the Panthers. Scarlet Knights' interim head coach Kyle Flood expected to "be the beneficiary" of the fallout.
With National Signing Day rapidly approaching, Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti has been on the move to try and replace head coach Greg Schiano as quickly as possible. Pernetti has already interviewed multiple candidates for the job, reportedly including interim head coach/offensive line coach Kyle Flood, Temple head coach Steve Addazio, and FIU's Mario Cristobal.
Tom Luicci, of The Star-Ledger, reported that Cristobal spoke with the Rutgers athletic director on Sunday. Pernetti reportedly requested and received permission from FIU to speak with Cristobal, which a person with knowledge of the search process said "went well." Multiple reports from Philadelphia indicate that Steve Addazio plans to stay put at Temple, narrowing Rutgers' apparent wish-list to Flood and Cristobal.
When Pernetti addressed the media after Schiano's departure on Thursday, the athletic director indicated his intentions to have a new head coach named no later than Wednesday - National Signing Day. Rutgers has already lost out in-state athlete Devin Fuller, who said on Sunday Schano's decision to leave "made a big difference" in his choosing UCLA over the Scarlet Knights.
Defensive end Darius Hamilton, one of New Jersey's top in-state recruit, plans to make his announcement on Tuesday night. One would assume Pernetti hopes to have his coach in place in time for Hamilton to make his decision. With the dead period now in place until Wednesday, the only best way to end uncertainty is make headlines with a coaching hire.
Cristobal is one of the hottest rising coaches in college football, taking over the FIU program in 2007 after spending time on Schiano's staff at Rutgers (2001-2003) and Larry Coker's staff at Miami (2004-2006). Cristobal led the Panthers to their first winning season in program history in 2010, winning the Sun Belt Championship and the Little Caesars Bowl. FIU finished 8-5 in 2011, falling to Marshall in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl.
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