Colorado State Lands Two Big Awards as the Jim McElwain Rumors Heat Up


Nov 28, 2014; Colorado Springs, CO, USA; Colorado State Rams head coach Jim McElwain on his sidelines in the first quarter against the Air Force Falcons at Falcon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

If you are a fan of the Colorado State Rams Football Program, you should start to prepare yourself for the real possibility of Jim McElwain leaving to take the head coaching position with the University of Florida.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports is reporting that representatives from Florida are on their way to Fort Collins to speak with McElwain about the opening. Just because they are going to talk does not mean it is necessarily a done deal but I find it hard to believe that they would fly all the way to Colorado if there wasn’t serious interest on both sides.

I’ve made my feelings known on the subject but just in case you missed it, here’s an article I wrote a couple of weeks ago: If Florida Offers Him the Job: Jim McElwain Has to Say Yes …

If this is going to happen, it is likely to happen quickly. The recruiting season is entering its final two months and both Florida and McElwain would want as much time as possible to save those who have already committed to Florida, and to recruit those who are still undecided.

Stay tuned.

More from CSU Rams

In other news, the Rams landed two big awards on Tuesday from the Mountain West Conference. McElwain was named the coach of the year and his quarterback, Garrett Grayson was named the player of the year.

McElwain led the Rams to a 10-2 regular season which represents the best mark in over a decade. Those 10 wins include a victory over in-state rival Colorado, a huge road win over Boston College and a last second win over a very good Utah State team.

The coach of the year award is for 2014 but the work goes back to January of 2012 when McElwain took over the program. He walked into a situation that was about as hopeless as any in recent memory. The Rams were coming off a 4-8 season in 2011 and no one really cared about the program. Angry fans are better than apathetic ones and there was a lot of apathy in Fort Collins.

McElwain, himself, went 4-8 in his first season but by the end of that year, the Rams were showing progress in their play on the field. In 2013, the Rams went 7-6 and qualified for a bowl for the first time in years. They beat Washington State with a thrilling fourth quarter comeback in the New Mexico Bowl, and the stage was set for the memorable season that was 2014.

It’s kind of ironic that by winning the coach of the year and leading the Rams to their best season in years may also lead to his departure.

Grayson broke nearly every single season and career passing record for the Rams, and was the leader of an offense that was nearly unstoppable for most of the season.

Grayson threw for over 3,700 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2014, both school records. His journey to this point has been nothing short of remarkable. When Grayson first got to CSU, he sure didn’t look like a future NFL prospect.

When he finally got his chance to start in 2012, Grayson was unsure of himself and threw the football to the other team as much as he threw it to his own team. There were times that McElwain was looking for other options but there were none, so it was sink or swim with Grayson.

As Grayson improved, so did the Rams. By the second half of the 2013 season, no quarterback was throwing the ball better than Grayson and the Rams starting winning.

2014 was a breakout season for Grayson and he became one of the best quarterbacks in the country.

Both McElwain and Grayson deserve a majority of the credit for the Rams resurgence and both awards are well deserved. Their contributions in Ft. Collins will never be forgotten no matter what the future holds.