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December 10, 2011

McElwain and Fresno State: Where does it stand?

NEW YORK CITY | University of Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain has interviewed for the coaching vacancy at Fresno State but has removed himself from consideration, sources close to the search told Tidesports.com.

Concerns over the budget in the Fresno State athletic department, and its ability to sustain competitive football at the school, were a factor in McElwain's decision, sources said. The Fresno Bee reported this week that ticket revenues for Bulldogs games fell $730,000 short of expectations, creating an athletic budget shortfall at a school already facing financial problems. Average attendance at Fresno State games, according to the Bee, fell under 30,000 this season to the lowest point since 1984.

Under UA team policy prohibiting assistant coaches from conducting media interviews, McElwain was unavailable for comment.

On Friday, the Bee reported that McElwain and Oakland Raiders assistant coach Kelly Skipper had interviewed for the position Friday in Dallas and were the two finalists for the job. However, sources indicate that McElwain is instead a possibility for the open positions at Southern Miss and Colorado State.

McElwain coached at Fresno State as offensive coordinator in 2007 before being hired to replace Major Applewhite in the same role at Alabama prior to the 2008 season. McElwain coached at Fresno State for Pat Hill, who was recently fired.

McElwain also interviewed for the coaching vacancy at Memphis, which has since been filled.

Under McElwain, despite first-year quarterbacks in two of his four seasons at the Capstone, the Crimson Tide has been one of the top offenses in the Southeastern Conference. This season, Alabama's offense ranked third in the league in scoring (36 points per game) and second in total offense (433.4 yards per game), while leading the league in rushing.

Alabama faces LSU in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans on Jan. 9, the second time in three years the Crimson Tide has played for the national title.

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase.goodbread@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0196.


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