University of Florida

Hugh Freeze, Jim McElwain reportedly on Florida Gators’ short list

Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze and Colorado State coach Jim McElwain are reportedly front-runners for Florida’s coaching vacancy, but the university’s athletic association denied the job has been offered to anyone in a statement Monday.

“We will have no comment on the recent multiple reports other than to say that we have made no job offers to anyone and reports claiming that are false,” the school said.

According to multiple sourced stories, Freeze and McElwain are on UF athletic director Jeremy Foley’s short list of candidates to replace Will Muschamp, who was fired Nov.16.

Last month, Foley said he wouldn’t acknowledge every rumor or give a play-by-play of Florida’s search.

“We don’t cut backroom deals here, that’s not how we do things here,” he said. “Again, no matter what is written or said. We will talk to coaches. We will talk to athletic directors. It will be handled above board. Speaking to our fans, there will be a lot of misinformation written about the search here in the next month, and I would ask them to try to wade through that.

“We’re not sharing information about this search every week. We can’t do it. We can’t address every rumor. I’m not trying to be combative, but we have a job to do. When we can share information, we will.”

Following a weekend full of rampant speculation, UF believed it was necessary to release a statement.

Late Sunday evening, Yahoo! Sports reported McElwain — Alabama’s former offensive coordinator under Nick Saban from 2008 to 2011, winning a pair of national titles — spoke with Foley on Saturday night.

The 52-year-old offensive guru is 22-16 in three seasons at Colorado State, including 10-2 this year.

Meanwhile, SB Nation asserted Florida offered Freeze a contract Sunday evening, valued around $4.2 million annually.

According to the report, the Rebels’ coach — an Oxford native — was weighing offers from Florida and Ole Miss.

After Saturday’s upset win over then-No. 4 Mississippi State, Freeze denied any reports he had been contacted by the Gators.

“It’s amazing what comes from the Internet,” he said. “I have not heard from anyone. I’m very grateful to be in the job here, and I’m blessed to be the football coach at the University of Mississippi. It’s my home.”

Other candidates rumored to “intrigue” Florida include Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Arizona State coach Todd Graham.

Foley hopes to hire a coach before Christmas.

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