Florida announced Wednesday that it has signed a contract to host Eastern Washington in 2020.
And while an SEC school adding an FCS opponent to the schedule isn’t usually a hit with fans, this particular matchup will at least have an interesting story line to it.
Gators head coach Jim McElwain played quarterback at Eastern Washington from 1980-83 and graduated from the university in 1984. He then worked with the program as a graduate assistant and later an assistant coach from 1985-94.
The Eagles have been one of the best at the FCS level in recent years and just upset Washington State, 45-42, on Saturday.
“Isn’t that cool? I mean, I know this, they just beat the Washington State Cougars of the Pac-12. That’s still hard for me, Pac-10 … But that’s a huge win for them,” McElwain said. “I know how proud my wife and I are on that win and what it did for the university. It’s an opportunity to give them some more exposure. And we’re going to have to lace it up when that happens. I mean, they beat Oregon State here a couple of years ago. They took the Huskies of Washington, it was like 55-58 or 62-58 or something like that (actually 59-52, in 2014).
“But I know we’re really excited. That was a place that obviously was 15 years of our lives. All three of our kids were born there. It’s a place that I can truly call home. It did a lot for us.”