Just hours after the Newark Star-Ledger and the New Jersey Press Media reported that Rutgers would name Florida International head coach Mario Cristobal to replace Greg Schiano, the deal apparently fell through.
In addition to the Star-Ledger and New Jersey Press Media multiple other sources ran with the story. But before the deal could get done, Cristobal decided to stay in Miami.
Now Rutgers is back at square one with just two days before national signing day. The school was likely rushing to sign Cristobal in order to rescue a class that has been ranked No. 1 in the conference by Rivals.com. The New York Times's Pete Thamel reported interim coach Kyle Flood and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver coach John McNulty appear to be the leading candidates with Cristobal pulling out.
McNulty was previously an assistant at Rutgers. It was reported last week that McNulty was blocked from interviewing with Tampa Bay, the job Greg Schiano eventually took. The Cardinals denied that.
Cristobal took over a winless program in 2007 and immediately set about turning around the program. He was 9-27 in his first three years, but took the team to the Little Casaer's Pizza Bowl in 2010 following a 6-6 season. They defeated Toledo, 34-32, in their first ever bowl appearance. They finished 8-4 this past season and lost in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, 20-10, to Marshall.
Cristobal, the first-ever Cuban-American football coach in FBS history, is just 41 years old and considered one of the rising stars in coaching. His south Florida roots have also made him a recruiting star in the talent-rich Miami area.
Cristobal played offensive tackle for the University of Miami from 1989 to 1992. He won national titles in 1989 and 1991.
Like the coach he's replacing at Rutgers, Cristobal coached at Miami. He was a graduate assistant from 1998 to 2000. He then went to Rutgers with Schiano to serve as offensive line coach from 2001 to 2003. He took the same position at Miami from 2004 to 2006 before taking over at FIU.