Michigan wide receivers coach Jim McElwain talks spring football Monday, April 16.
Central Michigan is hiring Michigan football wide receivers coach Jim McElwain to run its football program.
The news, first reported by Central Michigan Life, was confirmed by the school on Sunday afternoon. McElwain will be announced as the Chippewas new head coach at 11 a.m. Monday in Mt. Pleasant.
“Coach McElwain recruits outstanding student-athletes and gets the best out of them. He motivates his players and holds them accountable,” CMU athletic director Michael Alford said in a released statement. “He expects them to practice hard, win, go to class, graduate and be strong members of our community.”
McElwain, 56, leaves Michigan after one season as the program’s wide receivers coach.
McElwain signed a one-year contract at Michigan this past winter after being fired from his post at Florida midway through the 2017 season. After agreeing to a $7.5 million buyout with UF, McElwain agreed to ultimately be Michigan’s wide receivers coach for a one-year base salary of $300,000.
He’ll replace recently fired head coach John Bonamego, who was let go by Alford after finishing his fourth season at 1-11. Bonamego made three bowl games during his first three seasons in charge of the program but ultimately wound up 22-29 overall.
Alford, meanwhile, has crossed paths with McElwain before. The two were at Alabama together in 2008 when McElwain was the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator and Alford was the general manager of Crimson Tide Sports Marketing.
“I’ve seen firsthand that Coach Mac is a proven winner and a great leader of young men. His offense while at Alabama was innovative and maximized the team’s talents. I also got to know him, his wife and family personally, and they are tremendous people,” Alford said in the release.
This is the first major hire by Alford at CMU. He arrived as the school’s athletic director in July 2017.
This will be McElwain’s third head coaching gig. He left Alabama in 2012 after helping the Tide to two national titles and had a successful three-year run at Colorado State where he inherited a 3-9 team in 2012 and ultimately pushed the Rams to a 10-win season in 2014.
Florida hired McElwain to run its program prior to the start of the 2015 season. His first two years in Gainesville produced SEC East Division titles, but things went off the rails in year three.
McElwain started the year 3-4 but was ultimately fired after an investigation into comments made by McElwain about death threats being made to him and his family during the year.
Reports said Florida was never able to confirm said threats and attempted to fire him for cause over the situation. McElwain received a buyout of $7.5 million from Florida and finished 22-12 overall.
As a head coach, McElwain is 44-28.
This past season at U-M, McElwain helped sophomore receivers Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins enjoy the best seasons of their young careers — combining for 1,093 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“More than anything, I’m just trying to understand the ‘what’ and ‘how’ and then maybe over the years of doing this (I have a few things) I’ll be able to help with,” McElwain said earlier this year. “I’m not reinventing it. It’s an offense that’s here, I’m just trying to learn it.”
McElwain will be the first staff departure for Jim Harbaugh this offseason and is the ninth assistant to leave Michigan’s program since Harbaugh took over in 2015. Two of those coaches (D.J. Durkin and McElwain) have left for head coaching jobs. Dan Enos also left shortly after being hired, but never coached in a game.
Michigan passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton, meanwhile, is reportedly a finalist for the vacant head coaching job at Maryland.
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