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College football: Florida hires Jim McElwain; Nebraska chooses Mike Riley

Associated Press

After working though a sticky buyout issue, Jim McElwain left Colorado State on Thursday to become Florida’s next head coach.

“It’s an honor to be a part of the one of most powerful brands in college athletics in the Florida Gators,” McElwain said in a statement. “I’m humbled, yet very excited about the tremendous opportunity.”

The Gators announced the hiring at the same time McElwain started a team meeting with players and assistants. Reporters heard a loud ovation before McElwain exited the room in tears.

McElwain, who is a former Eastern Washington quarterback and assistant, agreed to a six-year deal at Florida that will average $3.5 million annually. He made $1.5 million this season at Colorado State.

McElwain accepted the job after working with Colorado State to reduce his $7.5 million buyout. Florida will pay the Rams $3 million over six years. McElwain will pay $2 million over time. The Gators also guaranteed Colorado State $2 million for a game in Gainesville between 2017 and 2020.

McElwain went 22-16 in three seasons at Colorado State. He was Alabama’s offensive coordinator for four years, helping the Tide win two national titles.

OSU’s Riley replaces Pelini at Nebraska

Nebraska hired Oregon State’s Mike Riley as its new football coach, replacing the fired Bo Pelini.

Riley spent 14 seasons over two tenures at Oregon State, leading the Beavers to 93 wins and a 6-2 record in bowl games. Athletic director Shawn Eichorst announced the move and said Riley would be formally introduced today.

The 61-year-old Riley has strong recruiting ties in talent-rich California and has a reputation for doing more with less at Oregon State.

Early in his career Riley was also an assistant to Hugh Campbell at Whitworth, where his brother, Ed, was a standout player.

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