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New UF Football Coach Jim McElwain Welcomed at Press Conference

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Jim McElwain, the new UF head football coach, said he is looking forward to being involved in his players' lives during his press conference on Saturday, Dec.6.
Jim McElwain, the new UF head football coach, said he is looking forward to being involved in his players' lives during his press conference on Saturday, Dec.6.

For the first time as new head football coach at the University of Florida, Jim McElwain spoke at a press conference Saturday about what he will bring to the program, particularly about his offensive strategy and background.

Current UF president Bernie Machen took the stage first to welcome McElwain to the team.

“We have found a coach who we believe is exactly the right coach to lead us into the next era of Gator football,” said Machen.

“We spent a lot of hours researching and at the end of the day, Jim’s name kept coming up” said Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley, who had spent several days in Fort Collins this week finalizing the details on McElwain’s negotiations to leave Colorado State University and come to UF.

“He’s a winner and we are excited to have him and his family as Gators.”

McElwain, dressed in an orange tie and joined by his wife, Karen and their three children, expressed how excited he is to be a Gator and how he hopes to bring his experiences and coaching skills to the football team in a school that he says is known for its “tradition of winning.” “The first time I was actually in this state recruiting, that’s when I knew I wanted to be a Gator,” McElwain said.

McElwain spoke about how he wants to get the football offense up to game-winning standards, which was one of the qualities UF had been looking for in a coach. “They’ve got good coaches here, it just didn’t work…. It takes three faces. It isn’t just offense, it isn’t just defense, and it isn’t just special teams.”

McElwain said that he welcomes the atmosphere of pressure that comes with the position. “The one thing that I love is pressure. Now, I never look at it as feeling the pressure, I look at it as applying pressure and I’m excited about that part of it,” said McElwain. “If there’s no pressure, why wake up in the morning? That’s really what drives me anyway.”

McElwain said that he wants to produce a team that wins and wants the players to succeed. McElwain even joked that he can even win with his dog, Clara-A-Belle as quarterback, a comment that quickly garnered attention on social media.

McElwain said he has already met with the entire football staff to talk about new recruits for the next season and will be meeting with the players Monday. He plans to tell the team to “embrace what they’re doing. You’re Gators. Go win a bowl game.”

He said he does not have a timeline for hiring a new coaching staff but that his priority is finding a staff that is the best fit.

“I’m proud to be a Gator, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

About Ana Rojo

Ana is a reporter for WUFT News and can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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