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CMU football 2018

McElwain named 29th head coach of Central Michigan football

Former SEC Coach of the Year brings high expectations athletically, academically

Contact: Heather Smith


MUG-2018-466-4  Coach Jim Mcelwain as.jpgJim McElwain, 2015 Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year and 2014 Mountain West Coach of the Year, has been named head football coach at Central Michigan University.

McElwain will be introduced to the campus community at 11 a.m. Monday on the John G. Kulhavi Events Center north concourse. The event is open to the public and will be streamed on ESPN3.

McElwain's coaching experience and commitment to athletics, academics, social responsibility and community make him a perfect fit for Central Michigan, said Zyzelewski Family Associate Vice President/Director of Athletics Michael Alford. 

"Coach McElwain recruits outstanding student-athletes and gets the best out of them. He motivates his players and holds them accountable," Alford said. "He expects them to practice hard, win, go to class, graduate and be strong members of our community."

McElwain and Alford crossed paths at Alabama, where McElwain served as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach for the Crimson Tide from 2008-2011, winning two national titles.

"I've seen firsthand that Coach Mac is a proven winner and a great leader of young men. His offense while at Alabama was innovative and maximized the team's talents. I also got to know him, his wife and family personally, and they are tremendous people."

McElwain's nearly 30 years of collegiate football coaching include highlights such as:

  • Led Florida to 19 wins and back-to-back SEC East titles during his first two seasons.
  • Those titles made him the first coach in league history to reach the SEC Championship Game in his first two seasons as head coach. Just two other coaches reached the title game in their first season.
  • He led Colorado State to a 10-2 record in 2014.  
  • Coached 2009 Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.
  • He was wide receivers coach this year at the University of Michigan, helping them to a 10-2 record and a top 10 ranking.

CMU President Bob Davies said he is pleased with McElwain's commitment to quality.

"We have high standards for all of our students," Davies said. "Coach McElwain understands we prepare students at CMU to be leaders. And he's excited about being a part of that."

McElwain said the Central Michigan football program tradition and CMU community are impressive.

"My wife and I relish the opportunity to come to a place with such great tradition and pride," McElwain said. "It was that rich tradition that really drew us to CMU, with legendary coaches like Roy Kramer and Herb Deromedi and championship teams. We want to continue that tradition and build on it.

"I look forward to working with Michael Alford. We have a great relationship from our time together at Alabama and know his family well. We also look forward to being a part of this outstanding community. We can't wait to get started."

cut-2018-466-9  Coach Jim Mcelwain as.jpg

CMU's 29th Head Football Coach Jim McElwain and his wife, Karen.

Alford said key factors in his search included proven ability to build winning teams, a focus on academic success, eagerness to engage fans and the community, and a determination to maintain integrity throughout the program. 

"CMU is well respected across the country. Our teams have tremendous athletic success and we recruit bright, dedicated students. We're also one of only 13 Division 1 institutions in the nation — out of 347 — to never have had a major NCAA infraction," Alford said.

"Coach Mac is the right person to help us continue that."

McElwain's Coaching Timeline

1985–86         Eastern Washington – Graduate Assistant
1987–94         Eastern Washington – Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers
1995–99         Montana State – Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers/Special Teams Coordinator
2000–02        Louisville – Wide Receivers/Special Teams Coordinator
2003–05        Michigan State – Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers/Special Teams Coordinator
2006               Oakland Raiders – Quarterbacks
2007                Fresno State – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
2008–2011      Alabama – Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks
2012–2014      Colorado State – Head Coach (22-16 overall)
2015–17           Florida – Head Coach (22-12 overall)
2018                 Michigan – Wide Receivers
2019                 Central Michigan – Head Coach


College: Eastern Washington, 1984
Wife: Karen
Children: JoHanna, Elizabeth and Jerret

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