McElwain hired to run Alabama's offense

Updated: January 30, 2008, 12:54 PM ET
Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama hired Fresno State's Jim McElwain as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Wednesday.

McElwain helped guide the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record in his lone season after they went 4-8 the previous year. He spent the 2006 season as quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders.

"Jim is a phenomenal coach and we are thrilled to have him on board," coach Nick Saban said. "He did an outstanding job last year at Fresno State. Their improvement on offense, especially in the play of their quarterback, was tremendous."

McElwain replaces Major Applewhite, who left Alabama to become running backs coach at his alma mater, Texas.

Fresno State averaged 419.5 yards and 32.9 points per game last season, after averaging just 338 yards and 23 points in 2006. The offense was even more impressive in the Humanitarian Bowl, where the Bulldogs racked up 571 yards in a 40-28 win over Georgia Tech.

Fresno State quarterback Tom Brandstater ranked 23rd nationally in pass efficiency.

"I'm ready to hit the ground running as soon as I arrive in Tuscaloosa," McElwain said. "Coach Saban and his staff have the Alabama football program on the rise and I want to do my part to continue that momentum."

McElwain was Michigan State's assistant head coach, receivers coach and special teams coach from 2003-05. The receivers set school records with 312 catches and 3,510 yards on the 2003 team that reached the Alamo Bowl.

"Jim is a great coach and I think he's going to be an outstanding head coach one day," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said. "We wish him and his family all the best."

McElwain has also had stints as an assistant at Louisville, Montana State and Eastern Washington. He played quarterback at Eastern Washington from 1980-83.

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