Jim McElwain’s Tough Road to Ann Arbor
Former Colorado State University head football coach Jim McElwain left the Fort Collins campus in December of 2014 in search of greener pastures in Gainesville, Florida as he took the top job as the Florida Gators head coach. The move came with some sacrifice as he was leaving a program he turned around in three short years and had to help pay for the buyout on his CSU contract. According to the Denver Post in an article published this past October, McElwain owes about $1-million dollars on that buyout.
His tenure at Florida did not produce the positive outcome he had at CSU. He and the university parted ways in October of 2017 following a 42-7 loss to rival Georgia and 22-12 overall record. He did lead the Gators to two consecutive 1st place finishes in the Eastern Conference of the SEC in his first two years but failed to get Florida into National Championship contention, which is the expectation in Gainesville. While he and the university mutually agreed to split, there were rumblings from within that he and the administration were never on the same page. He later sold his Florida home at a $400-thousand loss and was criticized by Florida fans for it, until they learned the truth: McElwain sold it to a family with two kids with disabilities.
Since his departure at Florida, the former CSU head coach and Offensive Coordinator at Alabama was sitting on the sidelines. Then, in February, his phone rang. Jim Harbaugh, the head coach at the University of Michigan was in need of a new receivers coach and was looking at McElwain to fill that void. McElwain joked with reporters that "He (Harbaugh) got the wrong number-and I answered". This won't be a leadership position like head coach or offensive coordinator. It's also a job that only pays $300-thousand a year. He'll be more in the background than in the spotlight, and apparently McElwain is fine with that. If his past success as a head coach and offensive coordinator are an indicator, he won't be in the shadows for long.