Guiding the Florida Gators to a 10-3 regular-season record in his first year with the program, head coach Jim McElwain on Tuesday was named the 2015 SEC Coach of the Year.
The three-game improvement for the Gators made Florida just one of two teams nationally to accomplish that feat in consecutive seasons (Temple). McElwain also became the first Gators coach to lead the team to 10 wins in his first season.
UF was as high as No. 8 in the College Football Playoff Rankings under McElwain just one season after not even sniffing a spot in any of the top 25 polls.
McElwain joins Ray Graves (1960), Charley Pell (1980), Galen Hall (1984), Steve Spurrier (1990-91, 1994-96) and Will Muschamp (2012) as Gators coaches to win the honor.
(Muschamp split the award with Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin in 2012, and despite the success of Urban Meyer, the two-time national title winner never received the honor.)
McElwain’s honor comes one day after five Florida players were named to the 2015 All-SEC teams. Defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard and cornerbacks junior Vernon Hargreaves III and sophomore Jalen Tabor all earned first-team honors, while senior linebacker Antonio Morrison and redshirt junior punter Johnny Townsend were named to the second team.
Here are the rest of the individual SEC awards for 2015.
Offensive Player of the Year: Derrick Henry, Alabama
Defensive Player of the Year: Reggie Ragland, Alabama
Special Teams Player of the Year: Evan Berry, Tennessee
Freshman of the Year: Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Ryan Kelly, Alabama
Jacobs Blocking Trophy: Ryan Kelly (Alabama), Sebastian Tretola (Arkansas)