Jim McElwain agrees to take over Gators football program

December 4th, 2014 by Staff

McElwain, 52, just ended his third season at Colorado State. The Rams have won 16 of their last 20.

(ESPN.COM) GAINESVILLE – Jim McElwain’s representatives and Colorado State have cleared up the issues surrounding his buyout, and McElwain has agreed to become the next head coach at Florida, sources told ESPN.com.

The deal had been hung up before Thursday morning as Colorado State refused to budge on McElwain’s $7.5 million buyout and Florida had refused to pay the entire amount. It is unclear at this point if Florida agreed to pay the full buyout amount of the schools settled on a smaller amount.

McElwain, 52, was in his third season at Colorado State. The Rams (10-2) have won 16 of their last 20 games dating back to last season. That’s after losing 27 of 36 games in the three seasons prior to McElwain’s arrival in 2012.

He was named Tuesday as the Mountain West Conference’s Coach of the Year.

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley was looking for somebody with a strong offensive background, and McElwain fits that bill.

The Rams are 13th nationally in total offense (497.8 yards per game) and had the country’s second most efficient quarterback in Garrett Grayson, who’s thrown 32 touchdown passes and only six interceptions. Colorado State’s top receiver, Rashard Higgins, led the country in receiving yards per game (149.1) and receiving touchdowns (17). The Rams scored more than 30 points in eight of their 12 games this season and were one of two Group of 5 teams with two wins over Power 5 teams, defeating Boston College and Colorado.

It didn’t take McElwain long to transform Colorado State into an offensive powerhouse. In his second season, the Rams went from 100th nationally in scoring offense to 22nd and from 100th in total offense to 24th.

McElwain replaces Will Muschamp, whose Gators never finished higher than 90th nationally in total offense in his four seasons in Gainesville. Muschamp was fired last month after going just 10-13 over the last two seasons.

McElwain, originally from Montana, tutored first-year starting quarterbacks (Greg McElroy and AJ McCarron) in two of his four seasons at Alabama. The Crimson Tide were known for their offensive balance under McElwain.

In his final season at Alabama in 2011, the Tide were the only team in the SEC that averaged more than 200 rushing yards and 200 passing yards per game on their way to what was then Nick Saban’s second national championship in Tuscaloosa.

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