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.
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 al.com.
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.