MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 23: Brad Bower #14 and head coach Ron Turner of the Illinois Fighting Illini talk during the game against the Minnesota Gophers at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on October 23, 2004 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minnesota defeated Illinois 45-0. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brad Bower;Ron Turner
FIU has concluded its search for a new football coach, hiring former Illinois coach Ron Turner. It will be Turner's first head coaching job since he was fired by the Illini in 2004.
"This guy knows football," FIU director of sports and entertainment Pete Garcia said. "He's the best quarterback coach in America, college or pro. So I'm very excited to get this guy. He's one of the best offensive minds in America. This guy's a total package. He can do it all."
Turner's deal is for five years with an annual base salary of $500,000. "I'm very excited about this hire," Garcia said.
He will replace Mario Cristobal, who was fired last month. Turner guided the Illini to the Sugar Bowl after the 2001 season, when he won the Big Ten Coach of the Year award. But Illinois would only win 9 of 34 games after that Sugar Bowl trip, leading to Turner's dismissal.
He went 35-57 in eight seasons at Illinois. His only other head coaching experience came in 1992, when he led San Jose State to a 7-4 record. He left that job after one season to become the offensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears.
Since then, he spent four more years as the Bears' offensive coordinator, two years as a coach with the Indianapolis Colts, and was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' quarterbacks coach in 2012.
Garcia said he spoke to current Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano and Bucs' special assistant Butch Davis before hiring Turner.
"They all said the same thing," Garcia said. "They all told me this was the guy we had to get."