Colorado hasn't contacted Jim McElwain for head coach opening
Just as the head coaching changes across the country seemed to be finalized, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio began a domino effect late in the process.
After 13 seasons and 114 wins for Michigan State, Dantonio shockingly retired Feb. 4, and athletic director Bill Beekman was forced to find a new coach two months later than he probably would've liked.
Beekman landed on Colorado head coach Mel Tucker on Feb. 14, thus leaving the Buffaloes without a leader until further notice.
McElwain has not been in contact with Colorado and neither has his representatives, but the second-year coach of the Chippewas said he's honored to have his name in the mix at other programs.
"It's actually flattering, that people think enough of the job you're doing," McElwain said. "It obviously puts Central Michigan in a new light every time it comes up, and I think that's a positive as we move forward with things.
"It sheds light on what a great place this is, to be honest, and what we've been able to accomplish as a staff and administration to keep this thing headed in the right direction. Moving forward, it speaks volumes for what's going on here at Central."
The Chippewas went from a 1-11 record in 2018 under former coach John Bonamego to an 8-6 mark with a Mid-American Conference West Division title in McElwain's first season. He was named MAC Coach of the Year.
Athletic director Michael Alford said he is prepared and keeps a list of other options in case of a coaching change, but he has not heard anything from McElwain or anyone else regarding interest from Colorado.
"He hasn't contacted me on it, and I haven't been contacted on it," Alford said. "There's a pecking order of courtesy that you reach out. That'd be a great opportunity. Any school would be a great opportunity. His name is going to come up. The success he's had, it's going to come up."
Four days before Tucker accepted the offer from Michigan State, he publicly turned it down Feb. 8 with a post on Twitter. Then, when Beekman went back to see him for the second time within the week, the Colorado coach decided to depart from the program.
Trustee Todd Anson, a member of the CMU Board of Trustees, said he was disappointed in Michigan State's timing of the Dantonio retirement, ultimately creating a chain reaction for other teams – like Colorado.
According to radio host Rico Beard, Dantonio wanted to coach for the 2020 season, retire and pick his successor. However, Michigan State hired a search firm to look into finding a new coach. Once Dantonio found out, he abruptly retired.
"That's not good," Anson said. "That's on management. There's dealing with a hyper-sensitized environment."
If Colorado were to hire McElwain, Anson said it would be detrimental to the Chippewas, especially in recruiting.
"Really has a negative impact on recruiting," Anson said. "Uncertainty undermines recruiting. That's the situation when you have any coaching change.
"It would really set back any school, including a mid-major like us."
Before McElwain gets contacted by Colorado athletic director Rick George, the Buffaloes will likely need to hear rejections from Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and interim coach Darrin Chiaverini. They are emerging as top candidates, according to 9News in Denver.
Bieniemy and Colorado have "preliminary mutual interest," while Chiaverini is a lock to get an interview for the full-time head coaching gig, 9News reported.