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Florida International reportedly fires Mario Cristobal

Mario Cristobal, once one of the hottest coaching prospects in the country, is reportedly out at FIU.

Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

Florida International has "let go" of coach Mario Cristobal, according to FootballScoop.com and confirmed by Pete Thamel. This is the most surprising termination of 2012, besides Appalachian State letting go of Jerry Moore, of course. Despite a down year in 2012, Cristobal has been one of the most-sought coaches in the country over the past couple years, with multiple power programs up north going after him last year.

He turned down the Rutgers job, in fact -- meaning he's gone from a chance to become an eventual Big Ten coach to a fired Sun Belt coach. How in the world did that happen?

Cristobal essentially created the FIU program out of nothing, leading the Golden Panthers to their first winning season, bowl game, conference championship and so forth. When he arrived, he had to steer recruits clear of the football facilities, because there really weren't any.

But then FIU went 3-9 in 2012, a confounding dropoff from two straight winning seasons. Still, everybody expected Cristobal to have earned himself much more rope than this.

He went 27-47 at FIU, and that might look bad, but, seriously, that's an achievement. Interested to learn the full story here.

This story originally appeared at SB Nation.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.