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Dec 4, 2014 10:57 AM

AP source: Florida hires Colorado State's McElwain

The Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) After working though a buyout issue, Jim McElwain is leaving Colorado State to become Florida's next head coach.

The Gators are expected to announce the hiring later Thursday.

McElwain officially accepted the job Thursday morning after working out a deal to reduce a $7.5 million buyout that had been the sticking point, a person familiar with the search said. The person to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Gators have not announced details of their coaching search.

The person said Florida traveled to Colorado with the belief that the buyout could be whittled down. But Colorado State President Tony Frank stood firm on $7.5 million, and the financial roadblock prompted Florida athletic director to leave Colorado without an agreement.

McElwain, his attorney and Colorado State worked out a settlement Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

ESPN first reported the hiring.

The 52-year-old McElwain replaces Will Muschamp, who was fired Nov. 16. Muschamp agreed to stick around for the final two regular-season games and finished with a 28-21 record in four seasons.

McElwain is 22-16 in three seasons at Colorado State. He was offensive coordinator at Alabama before moving to Fort Collins, Colorado.

Foley detailed several requirements for Muschamp's replacement, saying his next coach had to have high integrity, character and needed to be a fit at Florida.

McElwain has NFL experience, Southeastern Conference ties and a track record of success on the offensive side of the ball. His offense ranks 13th nationally, averaging 498 yards a game.

McElwain took over a program that went 3-9 for three consecutive seasons (2009-11), but has enjoyed a quick turnaround since his arrival. The Rams went 4-8 in 2012 and 8-6 last year before this season's breakthrough performance. They have wins against rival Colorado and Boston College in 2014.

Foley said offensive success was paramount for Florida's next coach after four years of offensive futility in Gainesville, where fans got somewhat spoiled watching Steve Spurrier's "Fun 'n' Gun" in the 1990s and then Urban Meyer's high-scoring spread scheme in the late 2000s.

The Gators finished 105th, 103rd and 113th in total offense during Muschamp's first three seasons. They rank 90th this season, but Muschamp said last week that he's leaving behind a "deep and talented" roster.

"They've got a good locker room and a bunch of talented players and a bunch of good kids," Muschamp said. "We've cleaned up the place and it's ready for somebody to go take the next step."


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