Sources: Florida nearing deal to hire Colorado State coach Jim McElwain

Pat Forde

Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain are in the latter stages of negotiating a deal that would make McElwain the next Gators head football coach, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

Foley and a contingent of Florida administrators met with McElwain for several hours at his home in Fort Collins, Colo., on Tuesday night to hammer out the deal, sources said.

One notable characteristic of the negotiations is McElwain's reported $7.5 million buyout. Sources tell Yahoo that the buyout is in place and will not be significantly negotiated down.

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Jim McElwain looks on from the sideline during a game. (USAT)
Jim McElwain looks on from the sideline during a game. (USAT)

A formal introduction of McElwain could come in Gainesville, Fla., as early as Wednesday.

McElwain, 52, and Foley discussed the Gators job Saturday night on the phone, sources said, and Foley flew to Colorado to try to cement the deal.

Information has been gathered on McElwain by Florida officials since the school announced two weeks ago that Will Muschamp would not return as coach, sources said. It is unclear whether any other candidates have been involved in Florida's search.

The Rams are 10-2 this year and were one of the strong possibilities for a major bowl bid from the "group of five" conferences until being upset by rival Air Force on a field goal on the final play Saturday.

Colorado State has taken a step up in each of McElwain's years at the Mountain West Conference school. He took over a program that had gone 3-9 for three straight seasons from 2009-11 and has gone 4-8, 8-6 with a victory in the New Mexico Bowl, and now a 10-2 season that includes victories over rival Colorado and Boston College. The only other loss outside of Air Force was in September to Boise State.

McElwain's team features the No. 2 quarterback in the nation in pass efficiency in Garrett Grayson, who has thrown for nearly 3,800 yards, 32 touchdowns and six interceptions this season. The Rams also have the nation's leader in receiving yardage per game (149.1) and touchdowns (17) in Rashard Higgins.

McElwain has Southeastern Conference experience. He is a former Nick Saban assistant coach at Alabama, working as offensive coordinator and receivers coach from 2008-11 when the Crimson Tide won two national titles.

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