McElwain, the former offensive coordinator from Alabama (2008-2011), is fresh off of a 10-2 campaign at Colorado State and will replace Will Muschamp at Florida. McElwain and Florida will pay Colorado State 7 million dollars in buyout money over the next few years, which isn't a bad little score for the gang in Fort Collins.
Florida fans rejoice. @CoachMcElwain is the real deal and will have tremendous success in Gainesville. Congratulations to Gators everywhere.— Greg McElroy (@GVMcElroy) December 4, 2014
McElwain has only three years of head coaching experience, but the turnaround he engineered at Colorado State was impressive going from 4-8 to 8-6 to 10-2. He's known for offensive balance and was clearly hired as the quick fix to Will Muschamp's hard luck, defense-o-centric Florida teams.
Many Florida fans are upset that McElwain isn't a "splash hire", but this hire matches the recent experience of Texas and other big names programs who have been in the market - namely that Harbaugh, Kelly, Saban and Stoops aren't quite as easy to get as fans imagine. You'd better be willing to seek fit and hit the developmental bench instead of rely on proven commodities. You need luck, sentiment or a special situation to land the very biggest fish.
Florida stock is currently undervalued. McElwain is inheriting an excellent situation overall. Muschamp recruited well, cleaned up a horrendous Gator locker room, suffered extended strings of bad luck and had an amazing knack for losing close games. Fan expectations are low. The new Gator head man is a QB and a coherent offensive scheme away from going winning the SEC East. Given his background, it's not hard to imagine him addressing that quickly.
The bigger unknown is how he'll do in Year 5.