Days before crosstown opponents Florida International University and the University of Miami will meet for their first-ever football competition, UM’s Pete Garcia announced he will take the position of athletic director at FIU.
Garcia has served in several capacities at Miami, including his current position as senior associate athletic director for external operations. He has also worked in the NFL as an executive for the Cleveland Browns.
The decision to hire Garcia is part of the Panther’s plan to elevate their athletic program.
“This is a sleeping giant and we are going to wake it up,” Garcia told the Miami Herald.
Garcia will begin on Monday following the Saturday game at the Orange Bowl.
“Winning for us is a philosophy, and part of winning is not only recruiting great talent but also making smart use of the talent you have,” FIU President Modesto A. Maidique said. “That is what we did here. I’m confident this team, and led by our newest recruit Pete Garcia, will continue to build FIU to be synonymous with winning.”
He replaces Rick Mello, who will move to associate vice president and executive director of the FIU Athletics Finance Corporation, according to the Panther’s athletic department.
On Tuesday, Garcia signed a five-year contract with FIU, for $220,000 per year.
Rumors that UM’s Defensive Coordinator Randy Shannon would be named FIU’s Head Coach have not been confirmed. Shannon’s son, Xavier, is the starting center for the Panthers.