WEST MIAMI-DADE, Fla, -

Florida International University fired head football coach Mario Cristobal on Wednesday after his team slogged through a disappointing season.

FIU was 3-9 in 2012.

“Today we informed Coach Cristobal that a change was being made in the direction of our football program," said FIU Athletic Director Pete Garcia. "I want to thank Coach for all that he has done to develop the football program over the past six seasons. We will now turn our attention to attract the very best candidate to fill the position of head coach. We will begin a national search immediately.”

Cristobal was considered one of the hottest coaching properties in the nation after leading the Golden Panthers to a bowl game in 2011.

He was widely reported to be in the running for coaching jobs at Pittsburgh and Rutgers.

But Cristobal stayed at FIU and the team could not resume its winning ways after losing its best player T.Y. Hilton.

Cristobal is a former player and coach at the University of Miami.

FIU hired Cristobal after the 2006 season.