Thursday, December 04, 2014

Florida hires Jim McElwain

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley wanted a coach with an offensive track record of success.

Foley even agreed to pay extra to get him.

After working though a sticky buyout issue, Jim McElwain left Colorado State on Thursday to become Florida's next head coach.

McElwain agreed to a six-year deal at Florida that will average $3.5 million annually. He made $1.5 million this season at Colorado State.

McElwain accepted the job after working with Colorado State to reduce his $7.5 million buyout. Florida will pay the Rams $3 million over six years. McElwain will pay $2 million over time. The Gators also guaranteed Colorado State $2 million for a game in Gainesville between 2017 and 2020.

McElwain went 22-16 in three seasons at Colorado State. He was Alabama's offensive coordinator for four years, helping the Tide win two national titles, before moving to Fort Collins, Colorado.

Not only has the 52-year-old McElwain been a head coach - something Foley wanted after failing with former defensive coordinators Ron Zook and Muschamp - he also has NFL experience, Southeastern Conference ties and familiarity with the state of Florida. Most important is his offensive resume. The Rams rank 13th nationally, averaging 498 yards a game.

McElwain took over a program that went 3-9 for three consecutive seasons (2009-11), but has enjoyed a quick turnaround since his arrival. The Rams went 4-8 in 2012 and 8-6 last year before this season's breakthrough performance. They have wins against rival Colorado and Boston College in 2014.

The Gators are looking for an offensive renaissance after four years of futility. Florida fans were spoiled watching Steve Spurrier's ''Fun 'n' Gun'' in the 1990s and then Urban Meyer's high-scoring spread scheme in the late 2000s.



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