EDITORIAL: Welcome to CMU, Coach McElwain
Congratulations to Jim McElwain on being hired as Central Michigan University's 29th head football coach.
We welcome you to our campus. We look forward to you and your family becoming a part of our community. The temperature in Mount Pleasant might not be as warm as Florida or Alabama, but we think you'll soon see how much our small town has to offer.
We wish you good luck as you begin your journey as the Chippewas head coach. Hopefully, you will be able to help turn our football team around and lead them through a successful 2019 season.
While winning games and having a good record is important, don't forget that there is a lot more to being a football coach at our university.
Your predecessor, John Bonamego, was beloved in the CMU community. For the first time in a long time, we had a football coach who was truly passionate about our university, its traditions and connecting with the Chippewa community.
Here's the thing coach, our students love athletics. We support our teams and our student athletes. We know they pay a price to be on those teams, including intense training and prioritizing sports over social life. But we pay a price as well. That price is about $22 million a year. That's how much the university subsidizes the $29 million athletics budget. That's money that comes from CMU's general fund — which is a mix of donations, state tax dollars and our tuition dollars.
Students have been accused of not showing school spirit if they don't attend games. Whether we like it or not, our dollars end up supporting your team and all the other teams that represent CMU.
So give us a team we can cheer for. That's a team – players and coaches — that plays with integrity, holds themselves accountable, sets high standards and behaves in ways we can be proud of even when they do lose a game.
We don't want to see our Chippewas fighting with other football teams. We want you to recruit students who want to be here — not just convincing graduate transfers from Big Ten universities to come play in Mount Pleasant for one season.
We're paying for this. Make us feel like you're here working for us; not just working for yourself, for your next job at a bigger school. Make us believers.
One final piece of advice. As you begin your time here, take a page out of Bonamego's playbook: Building strong relationships will determine your overall success. This isn't about wins and losses. Get to know the players as people. Explore our campus and meet the students who you want to see in the stands on their turf. Get to know people in the community because you will need their support too. Understand that student media is not there to be a cheerleader for you, but we do have an interest in your success and in recording the successes and failures of each season.
We'll be rooting for you, coach. But you need to be rooting for us too.