FIU Panthers football

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FIU Panthers
2016 FIU Panthers football team
Florida International University FIU logo.svg
First season 2002
Athletic director Pete Garcia
Head coach Butch Davis
1st year, 0–0 (–)
Stadium FIU Stadium
Year built 1995
Seating capacity 23,500
Field surface Field Turf
Location Miami, Florida
NCAA division Division I FBS
Conference C-USA
Division East
All-time record 52–112–0 (.317)
Bowl record 1–1 (.500)
Conference titles 1 (2010)
Colors Blue and Gold[1]
Mascot Roary the Panther
Outfitter Adidas
Rivals Florida Atlantic Owls
UCF Knights

The FIU Panthers football team represent Florida International University in Miami, Florida in the sport of college football. The FIU Panthers are an NCAA FBS college football team. The team plays at the on-campus FIU Stadium. In July 2013, the Panthers joined Conference USA.


Don Strock era (2002–2006)[edit]

Division Years Conference Affiliation
NCAA Division I-AA 2002–2004 Independent
NCAA Division I-A/FBS 2005–2012 Sun Belt Conference
NCAA Division I-A/FBS 2013–present Conference USA (East)

On 1 September 1999, when after several years of contemplating the commencement of a football team, FIU moved a step closer by hiring Don Strock to be FIU's Director of Football Operations. One year later, Don Strock was named Head Coach with plans to lay the foundations for a college football team. QB David Tabor was the first FIU football recruit. In February 2002, FIU found its star QB in highly touted Jamie Burke from Cardinal Mooney High, Sarasota, Florida. Burke was the only player to ever throw for over 500 yards in a single game in Florida as well as led the state in touchdown passes in a season with 34. Burke was being recruited by the University of Florida but opted instead for FIU when Steve Spurrier left to coach the Washington Redskins. FIU had everything it needed to begin competing in NCAA Football. FIU was placed in the Division I-AA level as an Independent team.

FIU won its inaugural game on August 29, 2002 against Saint Peter's College (New Jersey), 27–3. The team fared fairly well against the competition that season and managed to finish with a 5-6 record. The Golden Panthers then hoped to build on that in the coming 2003 season. FIU signed to play more challenging teams of the division in hopes to get more recognition as a solid football team. The opening game of the following season started with a loss to Indiana State and it led to a 0–8 start for the second-year team. They failed to reach the standard set the season before and fell to a 2–10 season. The next season followed with similar results, finishing with a 3–7 record.

After the 2004 season, FIU moved up to Division I FBS, formerly known as Division I-A, despite their relative lack of success in their first three seasons in Division I FCS. FIU became the fastest school in the history of college football to reach the highest level. This has since been eclipsed by multiple schools during the conference movement in 2012.

The Panthers play at the on-campus FIU Stadium in Miami, Florida.

The Panthers moved to Division I-A in 2005. Many of the season's players were from the 2003 recruiting class. Keyonvis Bouie, FIU's linebacker recorded 118 tackles in nine games, 11 for a loss and three interceptions. A second linebacker, Antwan Barnes recorded 15 tackles for a loss and added 11 sacks to his statistics. On offense, FIU's quarterback, Josh Padrick who passed for 2743 yards and 13 touchdowns. His primary target was Chandler Williams, who caught 61 passes for a total of 870 yards. It was these defensive performances that allowed FIU to compete with the teams in Division I-A and finish the season 5–6.

FIU had found the foundation upon which the team would be built. As characteristic of FIU's athletic department, the following year, FIU signed to play harder teams. FIU was headed in the right direction but still lacked consistency, and organization. As they began their 2006 season they almost evenly matched the teams which they played, losing almost all of their first few games by very narrow margins: Middle Tennessee 7–6, USF 21–20, Bowling Green 33–28, Maryland 14–10, and University of North Texas 22–25 (7OTs).

On October 14, 2006, FIU and the Miami Hurricanes met for the first time in what was supposed to be the beginning of an annual cross-town rivalry game. Nine minutes into the second half the two teams engaged in a brawl involving players from both schools, including one injured FIU player on crutches and one UM player using his helmet as a weapon. The violence later spilled into the stands, where several spectators were arrested and later released without charges. 31 players were later punished for the incident, including 13 Miami players and 18 FIU players. Two FIU players were kicked off the team.[2]

FIU Stadium during the 2011 Homecoming game versus Duke University

The FIU defense still finished 28th nationally, and 4th in pass defense. Antwan Barnes ranked 3rd in the nation in tackles for loss with 22 and 6 sacks. Bouie gained 119 tackles 18 for loss, and Alexander Bostic would add 98 tackles, 19 for loss and 8 sacks. Barnes, Bouie and, Bostic came to be known as the "Killer B's". On offense, FIU's receiver Chandler Williams, caught 67 passes for 664 yards.

Mario Cristobal era (2007–2012)[edit]

In 2006, Barnes and Williams were both drafted to the NFL. That same year, the FIU Athletics Department hired a new athletic director Pete Garcia, and found a new head coach for the team, Mario Cristobal.[3] Cristobal became the second youngest Division I-A coach at 37. Cristobal brought in a new coaching staff in hopes to turn the program around.

In 2007, FIU was the second-youngest team in Division I-A. 2/3 were underclassmen, mostly freshmen. During the 2007 season, FIU played its home games in the Miami Orange Bowl during the expansion of FIU Stadium to 20,000 seats. The Golden Panthers concluded the season with a win against North Texas 38–19. It was the last college football game ever played at the historic Orange Bowl prior to its demolition and the last home win at that stadium. In September 2008, the Panthers inaugurated the expanded FIU Stadium by hosting the South Florida Bulls with a crowd of over 16,000. FIU lost the game 17–9. The team would go on to win the next three games in a showing of a much improved team from the 2006 and 2007 team.

On Saturday, November 27, 2010, FIU defeated Arkansas State to clinch the Sun Belt Conference Title. This earned FIU its first bowl berth in the short history of its football program. Twenty-nine days later, on December 26, they became Little Caesars Champions. Fans brought signs saying, "¡Sí se puede!", Spanish for "Yes we can!" On December 3, 2011, FIU accepted an invitation to play in the 2011 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl, the school's second consecutive bowl game.[4][5]

After going from an 8–5 season in 2011 to a 3–9 season in 2012, FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia made the decision to fire Cristobal because "we’ve gone backwards over the last year and a half. Over the last 22 games, we've gone 8–14."[6] Garcia openly coveted Butch Davis to replace Cristobal. The decision was heavily criticized.[7][8][9]

Ron Turner era (2013–2016)[edit]

On January 3, 2013, FIU hired Ron Turner, former head coach at San Jose State and Illinois, as the program's third head coach.[10] The Panthers failed to make a bowl game appearance during his tenure, posting a 1–11 record in 2013 followed by a 4–8 record in 2014 and a 5-7 record in 2015. After FIU suffered an 0-4 start to the 2016 campaign including blowout losses to Maryland and in-state rival UCF, Turner was fired on September 25, 2016.[11]

Butch Davis era (2017-present)[edit]

Coach Davis

On November 15, 2016, former Miami and North Carolina head coach Butch Davis, who was serving as a college football analyst at ESPN at the time, was named the fourth head coach of the Panthers.[12]

Current coaching staff[edit]

Name Current Title Years at FIU Alma mater
Butch Davis Head Coach 2016 – Jacksonville State University
Vacant Offensive Coordinator, Offensive line
Josh Conklin Defensive Coordinator, Secondary 2013 – South Dakota State
Shannon Moore Special Teams Coordinator 2014 – Black Hills State University
Randy Melvin Defensive line 2014 – Eastern Illinois
Kort Shankweiler Tight ends 2013 – East Carolina
Cameron Turner Wide Receivers 2013 – Citadel
Jason Brooks Defensive secondary 2013 – Middle Tennessee
Tim Harris Running backs 2014 – Hampton University
Rob Harley Linebackers 2014 – Ohio State
Matthew Garris Defensive Graduate Assistant Coach 2012 – FIU
Josh Beekman Offensive Graduate Assistant Coach 2013 – Boston College
Pete Collins Offensive Graduate Assistant Coach 2013 – University of Mary Washington
Sean Todd Director of Football Operations 2013 – Salisbury University
Jed Keime Asst. Director of Football Operations 2013 – FIU
Chad Smith Strength & Conditioning Coach 2012 – University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Christian Terlizzo Equipment Manager 2008 – FIU
Joe Maggio Video Coordinator 2013 – Stony Brook

Future non-conference opponents[edit]

Announced schedules as of April 23, 2015
Maryland will make the return visit to Miami and Alfonso Field at FIU Stadium on September 10, 2016 from a home-and away series scheduled by both teams (Maryland hosted FIU in the first game of the pair in 2013).[13]

2016 2017 2018 2019
vs Maryland at Indiana vs UMass at Miami (FL)
vs UCF at UCF vs UMass
vs Indiana vs Tulane vs Indiana
at UMass vs Alcorn State

Awards and All-Americans[edit]

Individual award winners[edit]

  • 2006 Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year: Keyonvis Bouie (LB)
  • 2008 Sun Belt Freshman of the Year: T. Y. Hilton (WR)
  • 2010 Sun Belt Player of the Year: T. Y. Hilton (WR)

All Americans[edit]

  • DB Nick Turnbull (2002, 2005) The Sports Network All American (2002) Freshman All American
  • SS Jermell Weaver (2002, 2005) The Sports Network All American (2002) Freshman All American
  • WR Lionell Singleton (2006: Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention)
  • WR T.Y. Hilton (2008: Sports Illustrated Honorable Mention, Sporting News Freshman Team, Freshman Team)

FIU Stadium[edit]

Main article: FIU Stadium

FIU Stadium, nicknamed "The Cage", is the home field of the FIU Panthers football team. The stadium opened in 1995, and was expanded in 2007 and 2010 thereby increasing the stadium's capacity from 23,500 to 45,000. FIU Stadium is nicknamed "The Cage" by FIU students and alumni. FIU Stadium was designed by Rossetti Architects and boasts a seating capacity of 23,500. The largest attended game was on October 1, 2011 versus Duke University with an attendance of 22,682; FIU lost 27–31.[14]

Records and championships[edit]

FIU fans at the 2008 home opener game at FIU Stadium versus South Florida.

Conference affiliations:


Individual statistical leaders[edit]

All-time record[edit]

Year Season record  % Conference Conference record  % Conference
Coach Attendance
Bowl game
2002 5–6 .454 FCS Independent -- -- -- Don Strock 7,765
2003* 2–10 .166 FCS Independent -- -- -- Don Strock 7,072
2004* 3–7 .300 FCS Independent -- -- -- Don Strock 10,095
2005* 5–6 .454 Sun Belt 3–4 .429 4th Don Strock 15,477
2006 0–12 .000 Sun Belt 0–7 .000 8th Don Strock 15,110
2007 1–11 .083 Sun Belt 1–6 .142 7th Mario Cristobal 7,982
2008 5–7 .417 Sun Belt 3–4 .429 T–5th Mario Cristobal 13,852
2009 3–9 .250 Sun Belt 3–4 .429 6th Mario Cristobal 10,024
2010 7–6 .538 Sun Belt 6–2 .750 T–1st Mario Cristobal 16,545 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl; W 34-32
2011 8–5 .615 Sun Belt 5–3 .625 4th Mario Cristobal 18,411 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl; L 10-20
2012 3–9 .250 Sun Belt 2–6 .250 T–5th Mario Cristobal 13,634 --
2013 1–11 .091 Conference USA 1–7 .125 7th (East) Ron Turner 15,453 --
2014 4–8 .333 Conference USA 3–5 .375 6th (East) Ron Turner 12,176 --
2015 5-7 .417 Conference USA 3-5 .375 T-4th (East) Ron Turner 15,324 --
2016 4-8 .333 Conference USA 4-4 .500 4th (East) Ron Cooper -- --
-- 56-122 .315 -- 34-57 .374 -- 4 Coaches -- 2 Bowl games

*2003 season, 2004 season, and 2005 season wins vacated due to NCAA sanctions.[15]

All-time record vs. CUSA teams[edit]

Official record (including any NCAA imposed vacates and forfeits) against all current CUSA opponents:

Opponent Won Lost Percentage Streak First Last
Charlotte 2 0 1.000 Won 2 2015 2016
Florida Atlantic 5 10 .333 Won 1 2002 2016
Louisiana Tech 0 3 .000 Lost 3 2013 2016
Marshall 1 4 .200 Won 1 2011 2016
Middle Tennessee 4 8 .333 Lost 2 2005 2016
North Texas 5 3 .625 Lost 1 2005 2014
Old Dominion 1 2 .333 Lost 1 2014 2016
Rice 0 1 .000 Lost 1 2014 2014
Southern Miss 1 0 1.000 Won 1 2013 2013
UAB 1 1 .500 Won 1 2013 2014
UTEP 2 1 .667 Won 2 2013 2016
UTSA 0 1 .000 Lost 1 2014 2014
Western Kentucky 4 6 .400 Lost 4 2002 2016
Totals 26 40 .394

Conference champions[edit]

Year Conference Overall record Conference record
2010 Sun Belt Conference 7–6 6–2
Total conference titles: 1

Bowl games[edit]

Date Coach Record Bowl Result
26 December 2010 Mario Cristobal 7–6 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (Detroit, Michigan) FIU 34, Toledo 32
20 December 2011 Mario Cristobal 8–5 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl (Saint Petersburg, Florida) FIU 10, Marshall 20
Total bowl games: 2

Rivalry games[edit]

Alumni in the NFL[edit]

Current Panthers in the NFL

The following players were drafted or signed as undrafted free agents to the NFL in 2013, but have not yet played in a regular season game:

Panthers formerly in the NFL


  1. ^ "Logo Standards - Brand Florida International University". Retrieved 2016-03-25. 
  2. ^ "Miami, FIU have 31 suspended for role in brawl". CORAL GABLES, Florida: ESPN. October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ David J. Neal, FIU fires football coach Cristobal, The Miami Herald, December 6, 2012, accessed December 11, 2012.
  7. ^ Greg Cote, Greg Cote: FIU’s decision to fire Mario Cristobal impatient, unfair, The Miami Herald, December 6, 2012, accessed December 11, 2012.
  8. ^ Tim Rohan, When Best Still Isn’t Good Enough, The New York Times, December 5, 2012, accessed December 11, 2012.
  9. ^ David Moulton, David Moulton: Thoughts on the college football coaching landscape and more, Naples Daily News, December 11, 2012, accessed December 11, 2012.
  10. ^ Tim Reynolds, FIU hires Ron Turner as football coach, Associated Press, January 3, 2013.
  11. ^ "Ron Turner Relieved of Duties". FIU Sports. September 25, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Butch Davis Named Head Coach of FIU Football". FIU Sports. November 15, 2016. Retrieved November 15, 2016. 
  13. ^ [3][dead link]
  14. ^ Final (2011-10-01). "Duke vs. Florida Intl - Box Score - October 1, 2011 - ESPN". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  15. ^ [4][dead link]


  • ESPN College Football Encyclopedia: The Complete history of the Game (ISBN 1-4013-3703-1)