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    University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley watches the Florida Gators and Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship game / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Foley chimes in on
Florida Gators future under McElwain

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Written by Nick de la Torre, January 10, 2016, 2 Comments,
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In his first year as head coach Jim McElwain led the Florida Gators to a 10-win season and the SEC Championship game. More importantly, he made his boss very happy.

“We never put wins and losses expectations on our coaches, we just want them to get the program moving in that direction,” Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said on Saturday. “[You would] be hard pressed to say it’s not moving in the right direction.”

McElwain was dealt a rough hand. In his first spring camp he had to deal with trying to design an entire camp around the fact that he was given just six, and soon five after Rod Johnson’s injury, scholarship offensive linemen. Florida had inexperience at quarterback as well. Of the 15 offensive linemen that Florida used in 2015, 13 of them were underclassmen. Then, after finally settling on a quarterback, Will Grier was suspended for the season due to violating the NCAA’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.

“To sit here and look at a team that won 10 games, that made it to Atlanta, made it to a January 1st bowl game in our first year with some, probably some holes, and I think that’s a reflection on Coach Mac and his staff,” Foley continued.

McElwain did a great job this season, but the most impressive job he has done in Gainesville may have been in hiring his staff. Florida’s assistants deserve as much credit as McElwain for the Gators’ turnaround and Foley has made a commitment to the assistants as well. Both Geoff Collins and Randy Shannon have bonuses structured into their contracts that will kick in if the coaches remain at Florida through February. In fact, Doug Nussmeier and the rest of the new coaching staff also have raises in their contracts as well. The commitment that Foley has made to McElwain and the staff is evident and it’s showing already as Florida has mostly navigated through the coaching carousel season unscathed.

“You knock on wood,” Foley said when asked about staff continuity this season. “Obviously there’s some NFL jobs out there and you never know what the domino effect is there but right now our staff is here.”

Florida’s unexpected success this season, the recruiting efforts of the coaching staff and the ability to keep the staff intact are paying dividends on the recruiting trail. Those recruiting efforts have fans and Foley feeling good about Mac’s Gators.

“I give all that credit in the world to Mac, he thoughtfully and deliberately found those guys and they’re all good Gators and right now they’re still Gators and I’m confident that’ll continue to be.”

Nick de la Torre

About Nick de la Torre

A South Florida native, Nick developed a passion for all things sports at a very young age. His love for baseball was solidified when he saw Al Leiter’s no-hitter for the Marlins live in May of 1996. He was able to play baseball in college but quickly realized there isn’t much of a market for short, slow outfielders that hit around the Mendoza line. Wanting to continue with sports in some capacity he studied journalism at the University of Central Florida. Nick got his first start in the business as an intern for a website covering all things related to the NFL draft before spending two seasons covering the Florida football team at Bleacher Report. That job led him to GatorCountry. When he isn’t covering Gator sports, Nick enjoys hitting way too many shots on the golf course, attempting to keep up with his favorite t.v. shows and watching the Heat, Dolphins and Marlins. Follow him on twitter @NickdelatorreGC

  1. Wilbur_36January 19, 2016, 11:08 am

    I don’t know if Mr. Foley or Coach Mac have given any thought to inviting all former players and especially Heisman Trophy winners to attend all games any time. But have one game each year to recognize all of the Stars of the past years contribution to the Gator Program. Attendance would skyrocket!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Andrew Spivey
      Andrew SpiveyJanuary 20, 2016, 12:27 pm

      Mac has an open door policy for former players.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/University-of-Florida-Athletic-Director-Jeremy-Foley-watches-the-Florida-Gators-and-Alabama-Crimson-Tide-in-the-SEC-Championship-game-Florida-Gators-football-1280x852-150x150.jpg Nick de la Torre FeatureFootball ,,,,,,
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In his first year as head coach Jim McElwain led the Florida Gators to a 10-win season and the SEC Championship game. More importantly, he made his boss very happy.

“We never put wins and losses expectations on our coaches, we just want them to get the program moving in that direction,” Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley said on Saturday. “[You would] be hard pressed to say it’s not moving in the right direction.”

McElwain was dealt a rough hand. In his first spring camp he had to deal with trying to design an entire camp around the fact that he was given just six, and soon five after Rod Johnson’s injury, scholarship offensive linemen. Florida had inexperience at quarterback as well. Of the 15 offensive linemen that Florida used in 2015, 13 of them were underclassmen. Then, after finally settling on a quarterback, Will Grier was suspended for the season due to violating the NCAA’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.

“To sit here and look at a team that won 10 games, that made it to Atlanta, made it to a January 1st bowl game in our first year with some, probably some holes, and I think that’s a reflection on Coach Mac and his staff,” Foley continued.

McElwain did a great job this season, but the most impressive job he has done in Gainesville may have been in hiring his staff. Florida’s assistants deserve as much credit as McElwain for the Gators’ turnaround and Foley has made a commitment to the assistants as well. Both Geoff Collins and Randy Shannon have bonuses structured into their contracts that will kick in if the coaches remain at Florida through February. In fact, Doug Nussmeier and the rest of the new coaching staff also have raises in their contracts as well. The commitment that Foley has made to McElwain and the staff is evident and it’s showing already as Florida has mostly navigated through the coaching carousel season unscathed.

“You knock on wood,” Foley said when asked about staff continuity this season. “Obviously there’s some NFL jobs out there and you never know what the domino effect is there but right now our staff is here.”

Florida’s unexpected success this season, the recruiting efforts of the coaching staff and the ability to keep the staff intact are paying dividends on the recruiting trail. Those recruiting efforts have fans and Foley feeling good about Mac’s Gators.

“I give all that credit in the world to Mac, he thoughtfully and deliberately found those guys and they’re all good Gators and right now they’re still Gators and I’m confident that’ll continue to be.”

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