GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain made a great first impression Monday on new athletics director Scott Stricklin.
SEC Country first reported that McElwain and Stricklin met that morning before he finalized his deal on campus.
“We did talk a little bit about facilities and kind of his program and what he sees,” Stricklin said of his conversation with McElwain. “To be honest with you, it was yesterday morning and he still had Saturday on his mind, so I just kind of listened.”
Stricklin had previously watched McElwain from afar and liked what he saw. That admiration also extends past coaching. McElwain shares a mutual friend with Stricklin, who’s been the AD at Mississippi State since 2010.
“Everything I hear about Mac is really positive,” Stricklin said. “I’m talking about people in the business and people outside of college athletics that know him. He’s befriended a guy from Westport, Mississippi, who owns a golf course out there, a really good friend of mine named George Bryan. George has told me for years what a great guy Jim McElwain is.”
Like Stricklin at MSU, McElwain has pushed for facility upgrades and received a brand new indoor practice complex in August of 2015. Stricklin also likes the staff McElwain has put together, including former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Geoff Collins.
“I got really a lot of respect for him,” Stricklin said of McElwain. “Obviously I know Geoff Collins, who came from our place, so I’ve kept up pretty close with what they’ve done the past couple of years. I’m excited about the future of Gator football.”