The Florida Gators are close to hiring Colorado State’s Jim McElwain

By Anthony Caruso III

Just hours after Hugh Freeze signed an extension to stay with the Ole Miss Rebels, the Florida Gators are nearing a contract with Jim McElwain, the Colorado State Rams head coach. An official announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.

Both McElwain and Gators Athletic Director Jeremy Foley met for several hours today in Fort Collins, Colorado to get close to a deal. Should he agree to become the Gators coach, Foley will have to work out a $7.5 million buyout with Colorado State.

Jim McElwain (Getty Images)

Jim McElwain (Getty Images)

McElwain would replace former head coach Will Muschamp, who resigned two weeks ago. He coached his final game with the team this Saturday, which was a loss to the Florida State Seminoles.

Following Muschamp’s loss in Tallahassee, Florida, Foley talked to McElwain over the phone on Saturday night.

This season, the Rams have a 10-2 record. This past Saturday, they lost to the Air Force Falcons on the final play, and may have cost Colorado State a major bowl bid from the “group of five” conferences.

Each year, his teams have increased their win-loss record. From 2009 through 2011, the Rams went 3-9 for three straight seasons.

But under McElwain, he’s gone 4-8, 8-6, and now 10-2 in his third season.

Foley had good success going out West to find Urban Meyer, who was the Utah Utes head coach in the Western Athletic Conference. Meyer, who spent six years in Gainesville, Florida, and led the team to two national championships and was annually in the Top 15 of recruiting classes.

McElwain would return to the Southeastern Conference, where he previously was an assistant coach. From 2008 through 2011, he was the Alabama Crimson Tide offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach.

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