FIU Panthers hire Sean Todd to deal with controversies

FIU hired Sean Todd as its director of football operations Tuesday while the team continued to deal with recent controversies.

07/17/2013 12:01 AM

09/23/2013 7:13 PM

FIU on Tuesday announced the hiring of Sean Todd as director of football operations. Todd, who held similar positions at FAU for almost 12 years, joins FIU:

• with an investigation still in progress on the Saturday gunplay incident that resulted in two-year starting running back Kedrick Rhodes arrested and dismissed from the team. Other players were involved and could wind up disciplined.
• with other probable starters seeing tutors to keep themselves from being academically ineligible for part or all of the 2012 season, as the football team comes off an abysmal academic year.
• as an e-book with a title unfit for Miami Herald publication, but subtitled A Story of the 2012 FIU Panthers Sun Belt Preseason Champions, claims to tell behind-the-scenes stories about FIU’s 2012 crash from preseason Sun Belt favorites to 3-9. The anonymous author said he was an FIU coach last season.

FIU athletic director Pete Garcia had no comment on the e-book, which criticizes several involved in the program: Garcia for being cheap, former coach Mario Cristobal for being too rigid, the coaching staff for openly feuding in front of players and several players for “entitled” behavior.

One of the players who escapes criticism is Rhodes. The FIU police arrest affidavit from Saturday details how Rhodes got arrested on a felony charge of discharging a firearm on campus:

“On the listed date and time, the defendant was exiting his resident hall [Everglades Hall] located on the South Campus of Florida International University. The listed witnesses observed the defendant running toward his vehicle angered over an unknown incident. The witnesses then observed the defendant enter his vehicle and sit inside the driver’s side seat.

“The witnesses then observed the defendant produce a firearm from inside the vehicle, step outside the vehicle, yelling “Get the [expletive] back!” bringing the firearm up with his hand and discharging the firearm three to four times in the parking lot [No. 6]. The listed witnesses fled the scene, fearing for their safety. Further investigation revealed that the witnesses positively identified the defendant. The defendant was then taken into custody and transported to the Dade County Jail.

“The defendant provided a written confession, stating he was under the influence of alcohol while discharging the firearm.”

The loss of Rhodes comes after the football team posted team grade-point averages of 2.06 in the fall and 2.14 in the spring.

Asked if he thought this series of problems in football; men’s basketball getting a postseason ban because of a low Academic Progress Rate; and the limited overall department success over the past two years (conference team titles only in women’s soccer and women’s golf) caused him to worry about his job, Garcia brushed it off.

“I do the best job I can with the resources I have and will continue to do the best job I can with the resources I have,” Garcia said. “And I know FIU is on the rise. I believe we have enough resources to be successful. We don’t have everything we want, but we have enough to be successful.”

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