To the surprise of virtually everyone, Mario Cristobal was fired as the head coach at FIU today, despite being the most successful coach in the program's short history and having turned down other high-profile jobs in the past two years. Schools don't typically make a move this drastic unless they have a replacement lined up or at least in mind. FIU is apparently no different.
According to Pete Thamel in a report for Sports Illustrated, FIU athletic director Pete Garcia has a high profile replacement of his own in mind: former Miami Hurricanes head coach Butch Davis. Thamel writes:
Multiple sources with knowledge of FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia's thinking said on Wednesday that they expect Garcia to attempt to hire former Miami and North Carolina coach Butch Davis. Garcia's career began with Davis at the University of Miami and he also worked with him at the Cleveland Browns.
The Miami Sun-Sentinel is now also reporting that Davis is the front-runner for the job and will be approached to take it.
Davis was most recently the head coach at North Carolina where he was terminated in response to the NCAA violations committed by his assistant coach John Blake. Davis made a name for himself in the Miami area, helping to rebuild the Hurricanes program after NCAA sanctions. As head coach from 1995 to 2001, he overcame scholarship reductions to lead Miami to a No. 2 ranking in 2000. He also recruited virtually all of the Miami team that won a national title in 2001 and lost in the BCS championship game the following season.