Jim McElwain to Florida: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIDecember 4, 2014

Ron Chenoy/USA Today

Jim McElwain is Gainesville-bound to take the reins of the Florida Gators football program. The team announced the move Thursday:

Gators Football @GatorsFB

#GatorNation, we are pleased to officially announce our new head coach…Jim McElwain #ItsGreatUF http://t.co/i3lGgY7ROl

The team will hold a press conference to announce the move on Saturday, according to their official Twitter account:

Gators Football @GatorsFB

Coach McElwain will be introduced at a press conference on Saturday. More details (time, where to watch, etc.) will be available later.

GatorZone showed McElwain arriving in Gainesville on Friday:

Gators Football @GatorsFB

Welcome to Gainesville, @CoachMcElwain! #ItsGreatUF http://t.co/vvaWScoW8w

Florida football released athletic director Jeremy Foley's statement on the hire via Twitter:

Gators Football @GatorsFB

Statement from athletics director Jeremy Foley on the hire: http://t.co/PIZhJWQlEC

McElwain took to Twitter to comment on the move:

Jim McElwain @CoachMcElwain

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank Ram Nation for all you've done for me. I've met some truly amazing & loyal fans here. (1/3)

Jim McElwain @CoachMcElwain

I am so proud of this team and what they've accomplished. They believed in #TheClimb and have set a standard for the future of @CSUFootball.

Jim McElwain @CoachMcElwain

I am excited and honored to be the head football coach for the University of Florida, but will carry the Rams with me forever. (3/3)

The coach will get some help from former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, according to Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated and Joe Schad of ESPN:

Thayer Evans @ThayerEvansTLA

Mississippi State DC Geoff Collins is expected to accept the same position at Florida per a source.

Joe Schad @schadjoe

Geoff Collins MSU to UF as DC as SI also earlier reported. Deal for 3 years.

ESPN.com's Chris Low (h/t Brett McMurphy) first reported the buyout agreement Thursday morning before Mark Long of The Associated Press confirmed McElwain's hiring.

Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel reports on the deal McElwain is receiving from Florida:

Edgar Thompson @osgators

UF announcing terms of Jim McElwain's compensation package will average $3.5 million annually over six years.

Terry Frei of The Denver Post reported the details of McElwain's buyout:

A deal on buyout terms in Jim McElwain's Colorado State contract was reached Thursday morning, meaning McElwain will be the head football coach at the University of Florida, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

The renegotiated buyout has CSU receiving $5 million cash and $2 million for a single game at Florida in the future.

ESPN's Joe Schad puts into perspective just how large this buyout is:

Joe Schad @schadjoe

Colorado State says $5 million in cash is largest buyout in CFB History.

Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports noted that Florida would be shelling out quite a bit of total cash between firing former head coach Will Muschamp and hiring McElwain:

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

So if you're keeping track, between Muschamp's severance & McElwain's buyout, UF on the hook for nearly $14M.

However Mandel also noted that McElwain would help pay part of his own buyout fee:

Stewart Mandel @slmandel

Per UF's official release, McElwain will pay $2M of the buyout himself. So UF is on the hook for $3M cash, $2M guarantee game.

OnlyGators.com offered up an interesting note regarding McElwain:

OnlyGators.com 🐊 Florida Gators news @onlygators

At the time of his hiring, Jim McElwain (52) is the oldest head coach in the history of Florida #Gators football (by 5 years).

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports originally reported on the matter Tuesday. Forde noted that McElwain, 52, was in advanced stages of negotiations with Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley.

Pat Forde @YahooForde

Y sources: Florida in latter stages of finalizing deal to make Jim McElwain next football coach http://t.co/o9xpuoVCec

Forde reported additional details on McElwain and Florida's negotiations at the time:

Foley and a contingent of Florida administrators met with McElwain for several hours at his home in Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday night to hammer out the deal, sources said.

One notable characteristic of the negotiations is McElwain's reported $7.5 million buyout. Sources tell Yahoo that the buyout is in place and will not be significantly negotiated down.

ESPN's Joe Schad logged what former Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy had to say about McElwain:

John Middlekauff of Comcast SportsNet praised the job the coach has done building at Colorado State since he took over for his maiden 2012 season in Fort Collins:

John Middlekauff @JohnMiddlekauff

Known Jim McElwain for a couple years now, just a high level guy. What he took over at CSU & where it is now is pretty incredible

After going 4-8 in his first year at the helm, McElwain led the Rams to an 8-6 record last year and has guided them to a 10-2 mark in 2014.

McElroy's assessment carries weight. Before McElwain rescued the Rams from relative obscurity, he was Alabama's offensive coordinator from 2008 to 2011. The Crimson Tide won two national championships in that span.

In light of how offensively challenged the Gators have been under lame-duck, defensive-minded coach Will Muschamp, it seems McElwain is a logical successor. The quick turnaround McElwain engineered at Colorado State bolsters hopes that he can do the same at Florida.

And it will be necessary. In the ultra-competitive SEC, the Gators must recruit top-tier talent and improve on offense in a hurry. Florida's quarterback play has been disappointing, and that's where McElwain figures to help the program most.

Considering the prior success McElwain has enjoyed in the conference as a play-caller, along with the job he's done developing Rams QB Garrett Grayson into one of the nation's most proficient passers this year, the future appears bright for Gator Nation.


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