Negotiations Begin With Top Choice

Rutgers has entered into contract negotiations with a candidate to replace Greg Schiano, and has the exclusive information.

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti has entered into negotiations with FIU coach Mario Cristobal's representation about becoming the Scarlet Knights' next coach, according to sources.

A resolution could come as early as today as both sides look to expedite the process as Wednesday's signing day approaches.

Hang-ups for the deal are not expected, but could change since it is a fluid process.

Pernetti interviewed Cristobal on Sunday and had narrowed his list of candidates to Cristobal and interim coach and offensive line coach Kyle Flood. Pernetti has been working feverishly to find the Scarlet Knights' next coach after Greg Schiano left for the NFL on Thursday.

It is paramount for the Scarlet Knights to name a replacement ahead of signing day to allow the new coach time to sell leery recruits on his vision and to remain with the program.

In five seasons as the head coach of the Golden Panthers, Cristobal has a 24-38 record.

Like Schiano, Cristobal won just one game in his first year, but turned FIU into a winning team quicker than Schiano did with Rutgers. FIU has been to back-to-back bowl games under Cristobal and is 11-5 in conference play during that period. He won a share of the Sun Belt conference title in 2010, the first in FIU history.

Before FIU, Cristobal spent three seasons as the tight ends and offensive line coach at Miami and held the same position at Rutgers from 2001-03. Cristobal played tackle for the Hurricanes from 1989-92.

Cristobal makes approximately $500,000 per year at FIU and has a buyout of approximately $450,000-$500,000.

Top recruiting concerns include retaining the pro-style offense and as many assistants as possible, which Cristobal is expected to do, sources said.

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