Two years ago, before Jim McElwain ever coached a game at Florida, I wrote up a “contract” detailing responsibilities of both coach and fan base during his tenure in Gainesville. Now that we’re entering year three, it’s worth a look back to see how he’s done.
Here’s the contract, in its entirety. If you want a spoiler, McElwain has done pretty well with his end… for the most part.
A couple weeks ago, I wrote up a checklist of things he needs to accomplish in order for his first year to be a success. There were admittedly some lofty goals, but that’s what Florida fans expect. You have to shoot high. Of course, being that it’s his first year, it’s not like he has to accomplish them or else, though it would obviously be nice if he did.
But anyway, I thought I’d write up a list of things he needs to do throughout his tenure to make the fans happy. I realize that not all Gator fans always agree with each other, but I feel like I’m writing this on behalf of Gator Nation because many of you probably will agree.
Here is the contract between Jim McElwain and the fans of Florida Gator football:
1) Coach winning obligations. The coach hereby agrees to the following terms regarding winning games at Florida:
1.1) Coach agrees to beat Georgia three times every four years. Exceptions will be granted if Georgia is a top ten ranked team, in which case Coach agrees to beat them every other time in which they are a top ten team. In addition, Coach agrees to always beat Georgia in years which they enter the game .500 or worse.
1.2) Coach agrees to beat Florida State three times every five years, including every year in Gainesville. Exceptions will be granted in either case if FSU is a top ten ranked team, in which case Coach agrees to beat them every other time in which they are a top ten team. In addition, Coach agrees to always beat FSU in years which they enter the game 7-4 or worse.
1.3) Coach agrees to beat Tennessee every year. Until further notice, Tennessee is irrelevant. Should Tennessee unexpectedly become decent, which is defined as averaging eight wins a year over a three year period, this clause shall be revisited. (Ed: Tennessee has averaged eight and one third wins over the past three seasons, so they’re admittedly relevant, but there was no excuse to lose last year’s game the way they did.)
1.4) Coach agrees to always beat lower level teams. Losing to a lower level team, which is defined as a team that plays in the FCS, or a team outside the SEC/Big 10/Big 12/Pac/12/ACC that is not ranked in the Top 25, shall result in immediate loss of support from fan base should it come in Coach’s second season or later. A reprieve shall be granted for a loss to a lower level team in Coach’s first year, but Coach understands that in this case, his expectations in succeeding years are increased dramatically.
1.5) Coach agrees to lead Florida to a bowl game and win at least six games every season. Failure to do so, meaning finishing 5-7 or worse, shall result in immediate loss of support from the fan base should it happen in Coach’s second season or later. A reprieve shall be granted in Coach’s first year, but Coach understands that in this case, his expectations in succeeding years are increased dramatically.
1.6) Coach agrees to win ten games or more (including SEC Championship and bowl game) in two out of every three seasons OR average nine wins a season. Either shall be sufficient.
1.7) Coach agrees to reach SEC Championship game two out every five years AND win SEC Championship once every five years.
1.8) In the event that Coach wins a national championship, leeway shall be granted from fans with clauses 1.1-1.7 and 1.10 for one full recruiting class (four years) following the championship.
1.9) Coach agrees to run up the score on any opponent who does anything to egregiously mock, attempt to injure or otherwise disrespect Florida. “Run up the score” is defined as scoring points whenever it is realistically possible to do so; for example, getting the ball inside Florida’s own 5 yard line with a minute remaining would not be a realistic opportunity to score, while getting the ball at the opponent’s 40 with two minutes remaining would be. Coach does have the right to pull his starters to avoid the risk of injury in such an event, but he must still try to score with his backups. Teams that display class and respect shall be replied to with relative mercy from Coach in the event of a Florida blowout.
1.10) Coach agrees to run an offense that finishes in the top 50 of FBS every year. Exceptions shall be granted if offense is ranked between 50-60 one out of every five years.
1.11) Coach agrees to hire competent coordinators and assistants. Competent is defined as having prior position coaching experience at another FBS school. Exceptions shall be made for a young GA from a school that Coach brings in to learn for a few years as a GA and then allows him to take over when current assistant leaves.
2) Coach’s recruiting obligations. Coach hereby agrees to the following terms regarding recruitment of players:
2.1) Coach agrees to land one QB in every class.
2.2) Coach agrees to recruit hardest in positions that are weakest at the time then current.
2.3) Coach agrees to “clean up” in the state of Florida. “Clean up” is defined as landing three out of every four players needed, which is determined by the current needs of the team. For example, if Florida makes a serious effort for a top 10 receiver, a top 10 linebacker, a top 10 cornerback and a top 10 kicker from the state of Florida, Coach must get three of them.
2.4) In addition to the state of Florida, Coach agrees to treat the land as far north as Charlotte, as far west as New Orleans, and as far northwest as Memphis as home territory. Never mind that other schools are closer. Coach agrees to recruit this region just as hard as the state of Florida (or have his assistants of it). For players in this area that could be a great benefit to Florida AND express interest in Florida, Coach agrees to land at least one of every two such players.
3) Coach’s team uniform obligations. The coach hereby agrees to the following terms regarding his team’s uniform combination:
3.1) Coach agrees to dress Gators accordingly depending on opponent. For example, when playing Kentucky, Florida shall not wear all blue; when Florida plays Tennessee, Florida shall not wear all orange; when visiting another team that’s going with a fan whiteout, Florida shall not wear white pants.
3.2) Coach agrees to mark big games with special uniform combinations. Florida’s standard color combination at home is blue jerseys, white pants. A home game against FSU should be noted with either blue on blue, blue on orange, or orange on blue, as should the game against Georgia in Jacksonville. Florida’s standard road color combination is white jerseys, blue pants. White on white shall be saved for big road games, like at FSU or Georgia.
3.3) Coach agrees to NEVER dress his players in orange jerseys on orange pants. Florida is not Clemson. (Ed: He did this two games into his tenure, and while I still don’t love it, Orange on orange does admittedly looks better than I thought it would.)
4) Coach’s off field obligations. Coach hereby agrees to the following terms regarding his off field behavior:
4.1) Coach is not required to throw shade at anybody at any time, though he is required to stand up for his players in the (rare) event that they be on the end of false criticism.
4.2) In the event that one of Florida’s players gets in legal trouble, Coach agrees to wait out legal process. However, if player is found guilty of any form of assault or battery (aggravated, sexual, on a child, etc.), credit card theft, robbery, or any other crime that carries a lengthy jail sentence, Coach is required to remove player from program.
4.3) In the event of smaller crimes, such as marijuana possessions, underage drinking, suspended driver’s license, etc. Coach may decide to give player second chance. However, a second such infraction shall result in punishment of the player that includes a suspension of up to half a season. A third such infraction shall result in removal of player from program.
4.4) Coach agrees to be friendly to the media and fans at all time.
5) Fan obligations. Fans hereby agree to the following terms:
5.1) Fans agree to support and embrace Coach for entirety of first year regardless.
5.2) Fans agree to support and embrace Coach for first two years regardless with the exception that Florida either go 5-7 or worse and/or lose to a lower level team in his second year.
5.3) Fans agree to fill the Swamp for every home game. NO EMPTY SEATS. Fans also agree to fill out their half of neutral site games, which include Georgia, the SEC Championship Game, bowl games, and the Cowboys Kickoff Classic against Michigan in 2017. (Ed: we need to do a better job of this. The fact that the fans weren’t packed for the South Carolina game last year for Muschamp’s return to the Swamp- when the Gators could have clinched the East that day- is embarrassing.)
5.4) Fans agree to obey Coach’s orders to wear a certain color in order to match players’ uniforms.