MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. -- For the third time in his collegiate coaching career, Jim McElwain is a league's conference coach of the year.
McElwain, the former Missoula Sentinel High all-state quarterback and Montana State University assistant coach, was named Mid-American Conference coach of the year on Wednesday after leading Central Michigan to an 8-4 record and the program's first outright MAC West title since 2009. The Chippewas meet Miami (Ohio) on Saturday in the MAC championship game.
McElwain turned around CMU's program in his first year at the helm, improving last year's one-win team to a bowl-bound squad this fall. Eight of his players were named to the all-MAC team, including sophomore Kalil Pimpleton, who was honored at both wide receiver and punt returner. Receiver JaCorey Sullivan, linebacker Troy Brown and defensive lineman Sean Adesanya also earned first-team all-conference accolades under McElwain this season.
It's the first time since 1994 that a Central Michigan football coach has been named the MAC coach of the year. Dick Flynn earned the honor that season, while Herb Deromedi was named the MAC's coach of the year in 1980 and 1990.
McElwain was named the Mountain West coach of the year in 2014 after guiding Colorado State to a 10-2 record. In 2015, he was given the Southeastern Conference coach of the year nod for leading Florida to a 10-3 mark and SEC East Division title. It was his first year with the Gators.
According to USA Today, McElwain earns a $25,000 bonus for being named the MAC coach of the year, bringing his 2019 bonus total to $75,000.