FORT COLLINS, Colo. — University of Florida Athletic Director Jim Foley left Fort Collins Wednesday without making any announcement about CSU football coach Jim McElwain becoming Florida’s new head football coach.
McElwain himself did not say a word publicly about his meetings with the Florida AD that began Tuesday.
There were several national media reports late Tuesday night that McElwain was leaving Colorado State University to be the head football coach at the University of Florida.
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The developments happened quickly. Shortly after he was named the Mountain West Conference’s 2014 coach of the year, a report surfaced that McElwain was going to be meeting with an administrator about the vacant head coaching position at the University of Florida.
The Orlando Sentinel was one of many to report that the Florida Gators’ athletic director Jeremy Foley was on a plane on Tuesday to meet with McElwain. The meeting apparently lasted into the evening at McElwayin’s home in Fort Collins.
There was nothing official released Tuesday night.
Citing a source, the Sentinel also indicated the Gators “are not talking to anyone else at this point” about their head coach opening, suggesting McElwain is currently the top and only candidate for the position.
Fresh off a season in which the Rams notched a dramatic 48-45 win in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl over Pac-12 opponent Washington State, McElwain led the Rams to a 10-2 record this season. It capped a three-year turnaround for the Rams program, which had a combined 9-27 record in the three years before McElwain was named head coach.
The Rams have also downed the Colorado Buffaloes, their two in-state rivals, on two out of three occasions.
Prior to coming to Colorado State, McElwain was an offensive coordinator in the Southeastern Athletic Conference (SEC), the same conference where the Florida Gators compete. Considering the SEC has produced the national champion in seven out of the last eight seasons, most consider it the top conference in college football.
McElwain was a part the University of Alabama coaching staff that won national titles in 2009 and 2011.
Offense was the forte of McElwain’s teams at CSU, as well. Quarterback Garrett Grayson, who has set nearly every passing record in school history, was named the Mountain West Conference’s offensive player of the year on Tuesday, and CSU wide receiver Rashard Higgins is one of three finalists this year for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation’s best receiver.
Since McElwain came to the Rams, the school also began to consider the construction of a new stadium for its football program, which would be located on the CSU campus.
One caveat that could possibly stand in the way of a deal between Florida and McElwain is the $7.5 million buyout clause written into McElwain’s current contract with the Rams — a clause that would force the Gators to pay that amount to CSU before they could even negotiate a new deal with McElwain. However, there have been reports suggesting that buyout clause may be negotiable.