Florida resolves buyout, announces Colorado State’s Jim McElwain as next coach of the Gators

Updated at 5 p.m.

Jim McElwain has agreed to become the 24th head coach of the Florida Gators.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the one of most powerful brands in college athletics in the Florida Gators,” said McElwain in a statement released by the school hours after his hiring was announced. “I’m humbled, yet very excited about the tremendous opportunity that Dr. Machen and Jeremy Foley have afforded me and my family. I can’t tell you how eager I am to get to Gainesville to set a course for who we are going to be and what we will be all about.”

ESPN‘s Chris Low first reported early Thursday that buyout terms had been reached, while the Denver Post‘s Terry Frei later reported that the “negotiated buyout has CSU receiving $5 million cash and $2 million for a single game at Florida in the future.”

The Gators initially announced their hiring of McElwain via Twitter with a press conference scheduled for Saturday.

Florida then announced that the University Athletic Association will pay Colorado State $3 million over a six-year period, while McElwain will pay the school $2 million on his own. Additionally, CSU will play a game at UF between 2017-20 for $2 million.

The Gators and Rams were forced to mutually agree to the buyout in order to move the process along and allow McElwain to leave Colorado State for Florida. McElwain signed a six-year deal with the Gators that averages $3.5 million per season.

“Coach McElwain was someone we targeted from the beginning of the search. The more we worked through the process and did our due diligence, coupled with our meeting and conversations with him and those around him, it was obvious he is the right person to lead the Florida Gator football program,” athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statement.

“He has a proven track record on the offensive side of the ball, has coached in the SEC, won two national championships and has had success as a head coach. He has recruited the South and the state of Florida and has spent time coaching at the highest level in the NFL.

“He has an engaging personality and is someone who can connect with a variety of audiences and he operates with a high level of integrity. I welcome him and his family to The Gator Nation and I’m looking forward to working alongside him and his staff as they build a championship program both on and off the field.”

Continue Reading » Florida resolves buyout, announces Colorado State’s Jim McElwain as next coach of the Gators

The Silver Lining: Time for Florida, CSU to end the posturing and make a deal for Jim McElwain

After receiving an email, I felt it was necessary to clarify the below column in two ways. First, I am not insinuating that a verbal agreement negates the terms of a signed contract. Rather, I am stating that it makes good business sense to negotiate in good faith regardless of the signed contract. Secondly, though fewer words were written about one of the two sides in this fiasco, it is important to understand that I hold each side at fault for the way things transpired on Wednesday.

Jim McElwain and the $7.5 million buyout

Wednesday was a day of posturing in Florida’s pursuit of Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain. And most of it, or at least a good portion, was because of how Tuesday’s events unfolded for both parties.

According to reports by The Gainesville Sun and ESPN, Gators athletic director Jeremy Foley only decided to fly to Fort Collins, Colorado, on Tuesday after CSU officials told UF that McElwain’s buyout was indeed negotiable.

Foley, who is already spending $6.3 million to buy out Will Muschamp and may have to pay up to $8 million total to pay off assistants that McElwain decides not to retain (if he’s hired), saw McElwain’s $7.5 million buyout as a roadblock but one that he was willing to navigate through in order to secure his target.

Continue Reading » The Silver Lining: Time for Florida, CSU to end the posturing and make a deal for Jim McElwain

Florida C Patric Young signs to play in Turkey

Days after being released by the New Orleans Pelicans, former Florida Gators center Patric Young has decided to continue his professional basketball career overseas in Turkey after signing a contract with Galatasaray S.K., the team announced Wednesday.

Young, the 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a three-time SEC Scholar-Athlete of the Year, did not play a regular-season game in the NBA as a rookie.

Continue Reading » Florida C Patric Young signs to play in Turkey

Florida en route to Colorado State, Jim McElwain is Gators’ top choice to replace Will Muschamp

The Florida Gators have decided that Colorado State Rams head coach Jim McElwain, the 2014 Mountain West Coach of the Year, is its best option to replace Will Muschamp, according to ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy, who reports that athletic director Jeremy Foley will meet with McElwain on Tuesday afternoon.

OnlyGators.com first reported Tuesday earlier afternoon that the Gators were on a private jet en route to Fort Collins, Colorado. It was later confirmed by the Orlando Sentinel‘s Edgar Thompson that Foley is indeed on the plane to meet McElwain.

McElwain, who spent three years under Nick Saban at Alabama (2008-11) and directed the Crimson Tide’s offense to back-to-back national titles, has quickly built up a Rams program that was at the bottom of the Mountain West when he took over.

After posting a 4-8 record in his first season at the helm of Colorado State, McElwain pushed the Rams to an 8-6 record in 2013 and a 10-2 regular-season record in 2014.

McElwain has a $7.5 million buyout in his deal with Colorado State, though as OnlyGators.com first reported on Nov. 17 and reiterated on Nov. 30, the entire buyout is negotiable and can either be reduced or eliminated as the school sees fit.

He is considered one of the best offensive minds in college football with Colorado State currently ranked 24th nationally in scoring offense (35.9 points per game), 13th in total offense (497.8 yards per game) and seventh in passing offense (326.3 yards per game). The Rams are also ranked 34th in scoring defense (23.4 points per game).

A native of Montana with numerous ties out west, McElwain played quarterback for Eastern Washington and spent the first eight years of his coaching career on EWU’s staff as a quarterback/wide receiver coach. He then served as offensive coordinator at Montana State (1995-99), wide receivers coach at Louisville (2000-02) and assistant head coach at Michigan State (2003-05). In 2006, McElwain spent a year as quarterback coach for the Oakland Raiders, but he returned to college the following season as offensive coordinator at Fresno State.

OnlyGators.com Coaching Search Ticker

Photo Credit: David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 13

The 2014 NFL regular season continued this week with 38 former Florida Gators spread out over 22 of the 32 teams in the league.

Eleven teams had multiple Florida players on their rosters including Miami (four); Philadelphia (three); and Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, N.Y. Jets, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Tampa Bay (two each).

Below are full game statistics for all 29 players (18 starters^) that saw action along with select status and injury updates on some Gators during the 13th week of the regular season.

^ Kickers and returners not counted as starters.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
CB JOE HADEN, Cleveland Browns: Started | solo tackle, two pass defenses, interception; blocked field goal
» Haden has nabbed an interception in three-straight games and also forced another the week preceding the start of his streak.
LB JELANI JENKINS, Miami Dolphins: Started | 16 tackles (eight solo, two for loss) [all team-highs], QB hit, pass defense
» Jenkins’s 16 tackles were a career-high and marked his third game with 14+ tackles this season.

PLAY OF THE WEEK

Check out how the rest of the Gators in the NFL performed…after the break!

Continue Reading » Former Florida Gators in the NFL: 2014 Week 13

Report: Florida RB Matt Jones to enter NFL Draft

Florida Gators junior running back Matt Jones will forgo his remaining eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft, according to a report from Nick de la Torre of Gator Country.

“Always Bleed Orange And Blue!!,” Jones wrote Monday via his Twitter account.

Jones is the third Gators underclassman to declare for the draft, joining junior defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (a potential first-round pick) and redshirt junior offensive lineman Tyler Moore. Other players with a year of eligibility remaining may follow the trio, namely junior defensive lineman Jonathan Bullard and left tackle D.J. Humphries.

Jones, a two-year starter who suffered from a serious viral infection and devastating knee injury that cut his 2013 campaign short, was Florida’s leading rusher this season with 817 yards and six touchdowns on 166 carries. He also caught 11 passes for 65 yards and added a receiving score. In five games last season, Jones gained 339 yards on 79 carries, scoring just twice.

Continue Reading » Report: Florida RB Matt Jones to enter NFL Draft

Two Gators offensive linemen leave program early

A pair of Florida Gators offensive lineman have announced over the last two weeks that they will be leaving the program earlier than most expected.

Last week, redshirt junior Tyler Moore said he will forgo his final season of eligibility and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.

Moore, who took a year off from college football after transferring from Nebraska prior to the 2012 season and spent that year at a community college, struggled with consistency during his time at Florida. He played in seven games and made five starts for Florida in 2013 before suffering a season-ending injury himself. He started six games for the Gators in 2014, playing in all 12 regular-season contests.

Also departing from Florida is junior Drew Sarvary, an incoming transfer in 2014 who was expected to provide experienced depth for the Gators. Savary announced on his Facebook page that he will retire from college football due to a severe concussion he suffered against LSU a few weeks ago.

“Due to the severity of it and the prolonging symptoms, the UF medical staff and I have came to a conclusion that it would no longer be safe to play. I wanted to thank everyone who has ever helped me get where I am today. One chapter of my life closes as another one opens. #gogators #ibleedorangeandblue”

With Moore and Sarvary both gone from the program with eligibility remaining, Florida’s offensive line will be lacking depth in 2015. The Gators will also be losing a three seniors – starting center Max Garcia (fifth-year), starting right tackle Chaz Green (fifth-year) and six-game starting right guard Trenton Brown (a transfer) – and may see junior starting left tackle D.J. Humphries join Moore and leave early for the draft.

That would leave Florida with nine scholarship linemen on its roster entering next season, in addition to any that commit as part of the Gators’ in-flux 2015 recruiting class.

Florida Gators basketball out of AP Top 25 for first time since 2011, down to No. 24 in coaches poll

The Florida Gators (3-3) fell out of the Associated Press Top 25 – and just snuck into theUSA Today Coaches’ Poll – on Monday after dropping two of three games at the 2014 Battle 4 Atlantis last week in Paradise Island, Bahamas.

The fourth regular-season editions of the top 25 polls for 2014-15 find the Gators only ranked No. 24 by the coaches. It is the first time Florida is unranked in the AP Top 25 since Jan. 31, 2011, and UF received its fewest votes in the poll (40) since Jan. 3, 2001 (35).

Florida opened the season at No. 7/7. Two weeks later, the Gators fell 10 and nine spots down to No. 18/16. Now UF has effectively dropped 14 more places in the minds of the AP voters and eight slots according to the coaches. Things do not get any easier for Florida with No. 11/11 Kansas on tap this Friday.

WeekGator BaitRecordAP Top 25USA TodayNCAA RPI
Preseason--No. 7 (1,153)No. 7 (568)-
2W 68-45 vs. William & Mary1-0No. 8 (1,127)No. 7 (560)-
3L 69-67 vs. Miami
W(OT) 61-56 vs. ULM
2-1No. 18 (467)No. 16 (303)-
4L(OT) 65-66 vs. Georgetown
W 56-47 vs. UAB
L 64-75 vs. North Carolina
3-3NR (40)No. 24 (60)-

UF’s 2014-15 opponents in italics. Wins in blue; losses in red.

ASSOCIATED PRESS TOP 25
1-5: Kentucky (62), Wisconsin (3), Arizona, Duke, Louisville
6-10: Texas, Virginia, Wichita State, Gonzaga, Villanova
11-15: Kansas, North Carolina, San Diego State, Ohio State, Miami
16-20: West Virginia, Michigan, Arkansas, Michigan State, Iowa State
21-25: Maryland, Oklahoma, Butler, Illinois, Utah
Receiving votes: Florida – 32 overall

USA TODAY COACHES’ POLL
1-5: Kentucky (29), Duke, Arizona (1), Wisconsin (2), Louisville,
6-10: Virginia, Texas, Gonzaga, Villanova, Wichita State
11-15: Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio State, San Diego State, Miami
16-20: Michigan, West Virginia, Michigan State, Iowa State, Oklahoma
21-25: Arkansas, Maryland, UConn, Florida, Illinois

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