Jim McElwain rumored to be interested in the Oregon job
With under two full seasons in Gainesville under his belt, Florida head coach Jim McElwain has compiled a 18-7 overall record with a 13-4 SEC record and two SEC East titles – and still has an opportunity to win his first conference title this weekend in Atlanta, should his team upset Alabama.
Following all that success, it would be a surprise if the Gator head coach was unhappy with his current position, however, that may very well be the case according to USA TODAY Sports’ Dan Wolken. Would McElwain, or his representatives, really be seeking other opportunities as his team prepares for the league title game?
Here’s what Wolken wrote in regards to McElwain and his potential interest in the Oregon job on Tuesday morning:
There also are whispers that Florida’s Jim McElwain could be intrigued by the opportunity to return to the Pacific Northwest, close to where he went to college and started his coaching career at Eastern Washington. Despite winning SEC East titles in his first two years, McElwain has been a bit under-appreciated by the Florida fan base and just got a new athletics director in Gainesville.
While it’s true new athletic director Scott Stricklin is now McElwain’s boss in Gainesville and the Florida offense has yet to hit high gear for long periods of time under its current coach, leaving one of the premier jobs in America for Oregon seems like a reach at this point.
One thing to note, despite leading his team to back-to-back SEC East titles, McElwain currently ranks sixth in the SEC in coaching salary, as his current deal pays him $4.25 million per season.
Wolken and 247Sports’ Travis Haney discussed the topic during the latest Football Four podcast, here’s Haney’s opinion on the subject:
“It smells to death of a leverage play,” Haney said on the podcast. “Unless the vibe is off for whatever reason… It feels like a play for a raise to me.”
If the Oregon job does open up as expected this week, don’t be surprised if and when you hear McElwain’s name rumored among the candidates to replace Mark Helfrich. While it appears unlikely McElwain will make the jump, it is likely the Florida coach receives some form of loyalty from his current employer in the coming days. After all, McElwain is the first coach in SEC history to take his team to the SEC title game in his first two seasons at the school, that alone seems worthy of a pay raise.