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McElwain ‘learned from’ Florida departure, death threat comments

Football head coach Jim McElwain talks about what he plans on doing for the team and what he has noticed already on Dec. 3 at Kulhavi Event Center.

Following his introductory press conference, Jim McElwain said he learned from the way things ended at his last head coaching job at Florida. 

On Oct. 23, 2017, McElwain alluded to receiving death threats when he was asked about the team’s recent struggles. The Florida Gators, who were 3-4 at the time, just came off a 42-7 loss to No. 3 Georgia two days prior.

When the new Central Michigan football head coach referenced death threats, the reporters asked McElwain to elaborate. He declined.

This is McElwain’s exact quote from the press conference: "There's a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger," McElwain said. "And yet it's freedom to show it. The hard part is obviously when the threats (are) against your own players, the death threats to your families, the ill will that's brought upon out there."

That afternoon, Florida’s athletic department released a statement that said the administration met with McElwain to discuss the aforementioned death threats, but he “offered no additional details.” 

Here is the statement from Florida: “The University Athletic Association takes the safety of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and families very seriously. Our administration met with Coach McElwain this afternoon and he offered no additional details.” 

ESPN reported that Florida administrators discussed firing McElwain for cause. The administrators failed to find evidence that supported McElwain’s death threat claims, according to the report. 

“It was a bad situation,” McElwain told CM Life after the press conference. “There were a lot of things that went into it.

“You learn from those things. Do I wish I would have maybe gone and (looked for) out some advice from people I work with? Absolutely. At the same time, (the threats) are something that happened, and we have moved forward.” 

The Florida administration told McElwain that they did not owe him a buyout because he failed to tell them about the threats that he and his family received, according to an ESPN report. McElwain and Florida “mutually agreed” to part ways later that week. 

CMU Athletic Director Michael Alford told CM Life that he was not worried about the way things ended at Florida. Alford has known McElwain since McElwain coached at Alabama from 2008-2011. 

“About what happened at Florida — we did our due diligence. We asked questions and talked to people. There is no concern at all,” Alford said. “He’s a good man.”