With a 10-30 mark in three full seasons and losses in the first four games of this one, Ron Turner is out as coach of the FIU Panthers.
News: FIU just fired football coach Ron Turner— Dave Hyde (@davehydesports) September 25, 2016
FIU has fired Ron Turner, source told @ESPN. DC/LB coach Ron Cooper will be interim coach. Also reported by USA Today & Sun-Sentinel— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) September 25, 2016
There was some hope and cautious optimism around the program. The team had gotten incrementally better in each of the three full seasons of Turner’s tenure, going from 1-7 to 4-8 and 5-7 in 2015. But the ending to 2015 came on a sour note as the team got outscored 115-7 in two straight games with bowl eligibility only a win away.
2016 has not been kind to the Panthers so far — an 0-4 start with losses to Indiana, Maryland, UMass, and UCF. The final loss to UCF, an embarrassing 53-14 beatdown to a team that went 0-12 last season, seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.
The former Illinois head coach’s time cannot help but be seen through the prism of Mario Cristobal. Cristobal took the team to the first two bowl games in school history, including a Little Caesar’s Bowl victory in 2010. He had one down year, going 3-9 in 2012, and was promptly fired.
Turner’s replacement, whoever he is, will be walking into a situation where the expectations of the program remain confusing. What does the FIU program think it can be at its best? And how much patience will they have until a coach can get them there?
Incremental improvement in the wins and losses columns in years past couldn’t save Ron Turner once things went farther south than Key West early in this season.