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Jim McElwain wins MAC Coach of the Year


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Head coach Jim McElwain and his players wait to take the field to face Wisconsin Sept. 7 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison.

For the first time in 25 years, a Central Michigan football coach has been awarded the highest individual honor from the Mid-American Conference.

Jim McElwain was named MAC Coach of the Year by the conference Wednesday, snapping a Chippewa drought that has lasted since 1994.

Winning the award earned McElwain a $25,000 bonus.

In his first season at the helm, McElwain successfully altered Central Michigan from a 1-11 record without a Football Bowl Subdivision victory in 2018 to a team that is set to play in the MAC championship game at Ford Field in Detroit.

The Chippewas (8-4, 6-2 MAC) have made it to the conference title game for the first time since 2009.

McElwain turnaround was the largest margin of win differential between the 2018 and 2019 seasons in all of the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision.

While former coaches Dan Enos and John Bonamego weren't able to accomplish that mark over five and four years, respectively, McElwain secured a spot in the title game in less than 12 months following his hire to take over.

McElwain is the third MAC Coach of the Year winner from Central Michigan (fourth total) since the program joined the conference in 1975. The others include Herb Deromedi (1980, 1990) and Dick Flynn (1994).

Before coming to Central Michigan, McElwain was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year in 2014 at Colorado State and SEC Coach of the Year in 2015 at Florida.

Along with McElwain winning Coach of the Year, Western Michigan running back LeVante Bellamy was named the Offensive Player of the Year, Western Michigan linebacker Treshaun Hayward earned the Defensive Player of the Year, Kent State kicker Matthew Trickett received Special Teams Player of the Year and Miami quarterback Brett Gabbert was awarded Freshman of the Year. 

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