Why some football coaches keep receiving jobs is something I’ll never understand. The Hue Jacksons and Will Muschamps of the world make for really good jokes but also really bad coaches. I think it’s time we add another name to that list: Jim McElwain.
His name alone is akin to Voldemort a.k.a. “He-who-must-not-be-named” from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. One mention of his name alone is enough to send shivers down a Gator fan’s spine. That’s how bad his time as Florida’s head coach was. Sure, back-to-back SEC East titles are nice until you realize the division was full of average teams and UF never stood a chance against rival Florida State or powerhouse Alabama. Then there was the 4-7 season in 2017.
Central Michigan recently hired McElwain as its new head coach with a seriously weird video that looks like it’s from the 1990s.
Many guys have excelled there and moved on to better jobs like Butch Jones and Brian Kelly, and McElwain has the same opportunity. But McElwain already had his big boy job. And he screwed it up. So Chippewa fans, let me take you through a list of why:
1. McElwain claimed he, his family, his coaching staff and their families were receiving death threats, then didn’t provide any additional details when Florida athletic department officials asked him about it. This was the tipping point for his firing.
2. He treated the press like it didn’t matter, including one time in which he got heated at a reporter for asking a valid question. He was probably just mad at himself because it came during the postgame press conference after FSU beat the hell out of his team.
3. He blew up on running back Kelvin Taylor on the sideline one game after Taylor was flagged for a throat-slash celebration. The clip went viral. Audio revealed McElwain saying, “Look at me! Don’t look down! F***ing be a man! You f***ing let your team down. That’s f***ing bulls***.” McElwain later apologized for his outrage.
4. Who could forget the shark-humping fiasco in which McElwain actually had to deny to reporters that a picture of a man humping a dead shark on a boat was not him. That actually happened.
5. In a massive credit card fraud scandal that occurred during McElwain’s tenure, nine players were named in racking up more than $17,000 worth of fraudulent purchases, including star wide receiver Antonio Callaway and running back Jordan Scarlett.
6. McElwain and Will Grier’s odd breakup following his year-long suspension for testing positive for PEDs. McElwain’s unwillingness to accept Grier back is ultimately what led to his firing two years later because the offense was terrible without him.
7. He questioned the UF athletic department’s commitment to him bizarrely right after he received a contract extension and a raise from newly hired AD Scott Stricklin.
8. One prominent Florida beat reporter called McElwain a “used car salesman,” because McElwain routinely lied to reporters or was intentionally vague answering questions on multiple occasions.
9. When he landed his next gig as Michigan’s wide receivers coach, his biography said his offenses at Florida were “explosive,” which makes sense if we’re talking about, oh I don’t know, explosive diarrhea. It also used some very peculiar stats to highlight his time in Gainesville.
10. Just for an even 10, he wears his dress shoes without socks. Can you really trust someone who does that?
As Florida fans found out: No. You can’t.