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FIU Ups Cristobal's Contract, Paycheck

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Entering 2012, Head Coach Mario Cristobal guided FIU to its longest win streak in its football program's history.

On Friday, FIU showed its appreciation.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports Pete Garcia, FIU's Executive Director for Sports and Entertainment, announced the extension of Cristobal's contract, which now runs through June 2017.

In August 2011, Cristobal received a second five-year agreement to remain as head coach of the football program through June 2016. The amendment to his contract added an additional year extending the agreement through June 2017.

"Coach [Mario] Cristobal is one of the top head football coaches in America," Garcia said. "He continues to raise the bar for our football program on and off the field, and the last two seasons have shown you can win championships at FIU."

With a base salary above $450,000, Cristobal will have available performance bonuses of more than $100,000. The annual operating budget to the football program also increased by $100,000, with $50,000 allocated toward a retention bonus for Cristobal and the remaining added toward salary and benefits for assistant coaches.

"It is a privilege to be at FIU," Cristobal said. "I want to thank our University administration and Pete [Garcia] for continuing to support the football program. Their commitment is a testament to our student-athletes, coaches and support staff [athletics and academics]."

Cristobal will enter his sixth season at FIU in 2012 and has become widely-regarded in the coaching profession for the impressive success his tenure has brought to the school. Not only has Cristobal established a rock-solid foundation for the FIU program to strongly build upon, he was also the architect for one of the greatest turnarounds in college football and sustained periods of success in recent seasons.

The Panthers are now one of only 50 programs across the country who has participated in back-to-back bowl games in 2010 and 2011. Since Cristobal took over the program in 2006, only three other Sun Belt schools have had consecutive bowl appearances and FIU could equal the record of three straight with a postseason berth in 2012.

During this run, Cristobal has guided FIU to a 15-7 mark in its last 22 games entering 2012 — the best stretch in the program's history. In this span, FIU has led its opponents in nearly every statistical category.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)
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