MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When Florida International University Athletic Director Pete Garcia fired head football coach Mario Cristobal, he said he wanted a big name hire to take over the program. Late Thursday night, word leaked out who the “big” name is that Garcia selected.
According to multiple sources, FIU will introduce former University of Illinois and San Jose State coach Ron Turner as the school’s third football coach. Turner, who is the brother of Norv Turner, has been most recently coaching with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the team’s quarterbacks coach.
Ron Turner spent eight years at Illinois and finished with a winning record just twice during his eight years as the head man of the Illini. Turner’s best season was in 2001 when Illinois finished 10-2 and win the Big Ten Conference before losing the Sugar Bowl.
Overall, Turner has a 42-61 career head coaching record in the collegiate ranks including a 20-44 mark in Big Ten Conference play. Over Turner’s last two seasons at Illinois, he went 4-19 and 1-15 in conference play before being fired after the 2004 season.
For comparison purposes, Cristobal was 18-20 over his last three seasons at FIU including a 13-11 record in conference play. Cristobal also took FIU to two bowl appearances in his final three seasons, including a win in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in 2010.
Turner also has spent 12 of the past 20 seasons as an NFL assistant including time with the Chicago Bears as an offensive coordinator. Turner told CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald he wanted a balanced offense, even though his background is in the West Coast offense.
FIU will return several skill position players next season including quarterback Jake Medlock and running back Kedrick Rhodes, but will have to replace much of the offensive line.