Florida football head coach Jim McElwain denied rumors that he was being considered for head coach of Oregon.
The news comes after Oregon fired head coach Mark Helfrich. It’s the first head coach firing at Oregon in 40 years. Helfrich is jobless just two years after he coached the Ducks to the College Football Championship game. But a 4-8 season in 2016 wth a season-ending loss to rival Oregon State, did him in.
Mark Helfrich is 1st Oregon head football coach fired since 1976. He had 3 years left on contract & is owed $11 million buyout
— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) November 30, 2016
Rumors tying Jim McElwain to Oregon began after Florida’s loss to Florida State, before Oregon fired Helfrich. USA Today’s Dan Wolken was the first to report the rumors, claiming “There also are whispers that Florida’s Jim McElwain could be intrigued by the opportunity to return to the Pacific Northwest, close to where he went to college and started his coaching career at Eastern Washington.”
Coaching carousel: McElwain in mix at Oregon? Notre Dame furious over Kelly rumors. Holgorsen to Houston? https://t.co/wtsQzFDiUn
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 29, 2016
Wolken also cited a new athletic director and under-appreciation from fans, despite two SEC East championships in two years, as reasons for a potential Coach Mac departure. Penn State’s James Franklin and Western Michigan’s PJ Fleck were also mentioned as potential Oregon replacements.
In a Wednesday press conference, McElwain was quick to quiet all rumors regarding the Oregon position. McElwain said that he had never heard from Oregon, and that he was unsure how this rumor began. He reaffirmed his loyalty to the University of Florida and said that his focus was purely on the SEC championship game against Alabama this weekend.
The Gators take on the Alabama Crimson Tide for the second year in a row on Saturday. Kickoff is at 4 p.m. You can listen on ESPN 98.1 FM.