Monthly Archives: December 2011

Reaction to Colorado State’s Hiring of Jim McElwain

A press conference at noon Tuesday will be the first opportunity for the Colorado State community to welcome their newest member. Jim McElwain, currently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at #2 Alabama, will be introduced as the next head coach of the CSU Rams.

Jim McElwain (Photo courtesy of Mark Almond/Birmingham News)

Jim McElwain is a good hire as your next head coach of the CSU Rams. (Photo courtesy of Mark Almond/Birmingham News)

You can read his official bio from the Alabama athletics webisite here, but I’ll give you some of the highlights.

  • Arrived at ‘Bama in 2008; team went 12-2 after losing seven games in 2007.
  • Tide went 14-0 in 2009 and set Alabama all-time record for yards from scrimmage.
  • Coached 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.
  • Helped lead team to BCS championship game this season.
  • Coached 2011 Heisman finalist Trent Richardson.
  • In 2007, in his only season as the offensive coordinator at Fresno State, he led a somewhat dramatic turnaround of the Bulldog’s offense.

It’s unlcear what role McElwain played in recruiting at Alabama, but his biography didn’t mention anything, so my guess is not much.

It is also unclear (until the Tuesday presser) how much CSU will be paying McElwain or how many years will be on his contract. I’ve heard/seen a couple reports that McElwain will be making between $1.2 and $1.5 million, which means he could earn double the $700,000 Steve Fairchild was bringing in. McElwain made $510,000 in 2011 according to

If McElwain’s future contract numbers are accurate, the contract should not be for five or more years. Commiting around $6 million to a guy with no head coaching experience would be silly.

Anyway, this should be considered an impressive hire for new A.D. Jack Graham. As a Ram fan, I was hoping for an up-and-coming assistant coach who was familiar with big time college football and has seen what success looks like. Colorado State isn’t a likely destination for a head coach on the rise and I think hiring NFL assistants is stupid.

McElwain’s biography showed no connections to Colorado State, which should not be held against him by the die-hards in Fort Collins. If he can coach, we’ll take him.

There’s one simple way to bring back passion, interest and streams of revenue in a football program:  Win. Winning is a challange at CSU and the Rams have hitched their wagons to Jim McElwain.

Let’s hope he can recruit, motivate, run a clean program and embrace the Fort Collins community. And let’s hope he can win.

A Tumultuous Week for CSU Football and Other Musings

Jack Graham (Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post)

CSU fans sure hope Jack Graham knows what he's doing. (Helen H. Richardson/Denver Post)

I know I haven’t been around all that long, but I think Colorado State football fans will be hard-pressed to come up with a more tumultuous week than the one we all witnessed recently. Here’s a quick timeline of the events:

  • Thursday morning:  Highly respected athletic director Paul Kowalczyk fired completely out of the blue. The final 3 1/2 years of his contract are bought out using “private funds” (meaning donors/boosters likely pushed Kowalczyk out).
  • Thursday morning:  Kowalczyk replaced by Jack Graham, a passionate donor with zero athletic administrative experience.
  • Thursday afternoon: CSU President Tony Frank posts a letter in which he confirms his commitment to athletics at CSU. One eyebrow-raising sentence mentions “the impact that a privately funded football stadium on our campus would have.”
  • Saturday:  Nearly pull off a large upset against arguably the Rams’ biggest rival, only to fall short in the fourth quarter (no surprise there).
  • Sunday:  Fourth year coach Steve Fairchild fired by Graham.
  • Monday:  Graham announces his perplexing hiring of a national search firm to look for coaching candidates. Someone is paying the firm a quarter of a million dollars.
  • Tuesday morning:  Fort Collins Coloradoan article confirms that Jack Graham wants/is thinking about an on-campus stadium.

Whew… Need a few shots of Pepto Bismol to digest all that.

Other local and national sports musings:

  • How cool was it to see CSU play on Coach K court in front of the Cameron Crazies? It would have been cooler if they had a contributor taller than 6′-6″.
  • Am I the only CSU fan who was very disappointed to see the students rush the court after beating Colorado? We did the same thing two years ago and Kowalczyk sent us all an email saying how stupid it was. He was right.
  • In six or seven years the St. Louis Cardinals will be glad they’re not paying Albert Pujol$ $25 million a year, but don’t tell that to the 12-year-old in Missouri who has slept in a Number 5 jersey-T for as long as he can remember.
  • It seems like David Stern is losing control of the NBA. His nixing of the Chris Paul trade screws over three different franchises, but none more than the small market New Orleans Hornets, which he was trying to protect. Superstars in the final year of their contract will always have the power to dictate where they want to sign. It’s just an unfortunate truth.
  • The Rockies better sign some starting pitching during this offseason, the sooner the better. Getting rid of Huston Street and his contract to create flexibility was fine, but now it’s time to make some moves.
  • I would like to see Nene come back for the Nuggets, but I have a feeling some other team is willing to overpay for him. I think the Nuggets have to let them. A max contract would be a little much.
  • And no post would be complete without this:  TEBOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!! At this point, there’s no sense in being skeptical. I’m all-in on the Tebow Train, and I worry that lots of people in Denver and across the country are too busy trying to be quarterback experts to enjoy what we’re seeing. This is the most remarkable football season of my generation’s lifetime, just shut up and enjoy it already.