GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain caught everyone’s attention earlier in the week when in the middle of his regular Monday news conference he revealed that unspecified members of his program and/or their families had received death threats.
He declined to offer any more details in response to follow-up questions when pressed, and the University Athletic Association then raised eyebrows with a statement later in the evening that it had spoken with McElwain and “he offered no additional details” to them either.
That took the story to another level, sparking strong opinions from fans and columnists throughout the state.
McElwain’s first media opportunity since his initial comments was the SEC coaches teleconference Wednesday morning, and he again declined to offer any context to the claims while seeming to express some regret for bringing it up in the first place.
“I think one of the things for those who know me and people that realize I’m a real passionate guy, there’s obviously letting, exactly what I tell our people not to do, is allow one or two misguided remarks get to you,” he said. “The care I have and the passion for these players, this university and the fact that we have an unbelievable fan base. It’s great. There’s passion. When you go into that Swamp it’s something special and our guys feel it. Yeah, I do, I feel bad for sometimes being open and being honest. And yet at the time same time, you know, I’ve seen this movie, I understand it and if it gets to a point then we’ll go from there.”
It’s unclear what McElwain meant by the last line there. He was asked a follow-up to confirm that he was not going to provide any further context to the death threat claims.
“When it becomes unmanageable at that point, like I said I’ve got a lot of care and care for this program and these people,” he said. “And at the same time, allowing a couple things (to) get to you, you know what, you can’t do that. And ultimately that’s the business we’re in. You know what, we’ll move forward and get ready to go play this ballgame.”