University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh announced today (Tuesday, Feb. 20) the hiring of Jim McElwain as the program’s 10th assistant coach. McElwain, who was the head coach at the University of Florida for the past two seasons, will coach the team’s wide receivers.
“I am excited to work with this offensive staff and Coach Harbaugh,” said McElwain. “There are a lot of great offensive minds in that coaching room and I look forward to learning from them.”
McElwain brings 33 years of coaching experience with him to Ann Arbor. He has worked with eight NCAA programs and one NFL team, and has spent the last five-plus seasons as a head coach.
His most recent stop was at the University of Florida, where he was head coach for two-plus seasons from 2015-17. He became one of three coaches to lead his program to the conference title game in his first year, and became the only coach in league history to lead his team there in each of his first two seasons as head coach. McElwain compiled a 22-12 overall record at Florida, winning SEC East titles in 2015 and 2016.
In his first season, the Gators improved by a four-game turnaround; the third-biggest one-year leap in the last 32 seasons of Florida football. He was rewarded by being voted as the 2015 SEC Coach of the Year by his peers and the media, making him the first coach in program history to garner both awards in his first season.
McElwain’s units were explosive on offense during his time at Florida, especially through the passing game. His 2015 aerial attack became Florida’s first since 2009 to throw for more than 20 touchdowns with fewer than 11 interceptions (on 405 attempts), and the team’s 410 attempts in 2016 were the most by any Gator team since 2002. Six receivers recorded multiple receiving touchdowns in both of those seasons, a feat not previously accomplished since 2008.
Prior to taking the job at Florida, McElwain spent three seasons as the head coach at Colorado State University. In his last season, he was named 2014 Mountain West Coach of the Year and the American Football Coaches Association Region 5 Coach of the Year.
Prior to his first head coaching job, McElwain spent 2008-11 as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide, where he helped lead the program to two BCS National Championships (2009 and 2011). The team went 48-6 overall during his four-year stretch in Tuscaloosa.
The year before he went to Alabama to be quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, McElwain held the same position at Fresno State. He helped the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record and a win over Georgia Tech in the Humanitarian Bowl, upping the team’s offensive output and scoring from 338.2 yards per game and 23.0 points per contest to 419.5 yards and 32.9 points per game.
McElwain spent the 2006 season with the Oakland Raiders as quarterbacks coach after a three-year stint at Michigan State from 2003-05, where he was the assistant head coach, in addition to coaching wide receivers and special teams.
An all-state quarterback at Missoula (Montana) Sentinel High School, McElwain played quarterback at Eastern Washington from 1980-83 and earned his degree in Education from EWU in 1984.
He and his wife, Karen, have three children, Johanna, Elizabeth and Jerret.