Monday, December 12, 2011

CSU's Homerun Hire Raises Questions About McElwain

Just a few years ago, Jim McElwain was one of the hottest coaching candidates in the country. Makes you question, why Colorado State?
By G The Producer (Mile High Sports)

I have to give credit where credit is due. Jim McElwain is a great hire for the Colorado State Rams and their Booster/Athletic Director Guy.

However, it raises some questions, doesn't it? Just a few years ago McElwain was one of the hottest candidates in the country, and today agrees to become the Rams Head Coach. There is a lot to question about the attractiveness of the job, a bad team in a difficult place to recruit, far away from his current position in Alabama, and to a conference that has simply fallen apart at the seems.

Just over a year ago McElwain was reported to have been a finalist for the Colorado Head Coaching Position, and at one time, even a favorite. Eventually losing out to Jon Embree, McElwain returned to Alabama where his team is headed to the National Championship.

McElwain was hired at 'Bama, after a stint as the Offensive Coordinator at Fresno State, and as early as this morning, many thought he would be hired to take over the Bulldogs. He was hired from Fresno after a one year trial as the QB's coach with the Oakland Raiders.

What went under reported was that McElwain reportedly accepted and then turned down the Head Coaching position at Memphis last week.

Three years ago McElwain was associated with many Head Coach openings around the country.

Even this season there was mutual interest between Texas A&M and even UCLA. And with no ties to the area, the conference, or the University, Colorado State lands the Offensive Coordinator at perhaps the best Football School over the past 3-4 year span.

His challenges: Where is he going to recruit? No offense, but the top SEC Region Prep Stars are not interested in Ft. Collins, Colorado. They've probably never even heard of it.

So will his focus be recruiting the West Coast? He only spent one year with the Raiders, and one with Fresno State. Before that McElwain spent years at Michigan State, Louisville, Montana State, and Eastern Washington.

Memphis would have made sense, Fresno would have made sense. But Colorado State?

Where he will succeed: Give credit to Mr. Booster Director Man. The fact that he can associate himself with the Alabama Crimson Tide will alone make him a recruiting threat in Colorado's region.

The answer: Money?

The question: Where did this money come from Colorado State?

The truth: With no ties to the conference, city, state, school, etc... It is interesting to ponder. He has never stayed in a place for longer than 4 years, does he have the ability and experience to rebuild a program that's ceiling isn't that high to begin with?

Will he use Colorado State as a leap frog to a better job?

Can he coach? Short of a Hesiman Trophy Running Back's season, Alabama's offense hasn't exactly been known for lighting up scoreboards.

So the sum up this conundrum, how does a coach, in three years, go from one of the top candidates in the country... to Ft. Collins, Colorado?

Well I guess we know who all of CSU's 14,000 fans will be rooting for in this years BCS National Title Game.

Roll 'Rams?

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe what I just read. CSU has just landed Jim McElwain -- the OC from the #2 football program in the nation, where he is well-liked, well-respected, and highly lauded. And instead of a celebrating the hire, this article is raising questions about why McElwain has agreed to take the job?

    As a lifelong Alabama fan, I was heartbroken when I heard the news that McElwain was leaving. He has been a mainstay at Alabama: a hard worker who loves his players, a good family man, and a patient and dedicated coach. Anyone who can keep his job as OC under Nick Saban is doing something right. And any football program anywhere would be lucky to have him as head coach.

    As for Alabama's not "lighting up the scoreboard", there are two points: (1) the SEC has the toughest defenses in the country, and (2) even against those defenses, Alabama scored an average of 36 points per game this season, including one in which they only scored 6 (against LSU on November 5).

    McElwain has strong ties to the West. He's a native of Montana, attended Eastern Washington, and coached at Montana State, Fresno State and Oakland.

    As for recruiting, I'm sure Coach McElwain will assemble a coaching/recruiting staff with strong Colorado ties. That's what a good coach does (see Urban Meyer, who had no ties to the South).

    My guess is that Coach McElwain wanted to go back West for a head coaching position. Will he use the CSU job as a stepping-stone? That remains to be seen. But while CSU has him, they should count their blessings.