Exactly five years from the day that Rich Rodriguez accepted an offer to be the head football coach at the University of Alabama, only to renege hours later, it seems that current Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Jim McElwain has done something similar with Memphis. Per Izzy Gould:
Jim McElwain accepted an offer Wednesday to become the head coach at Memphis, but changed his mind according to TigerAuthority.com.
The website reports Memphis called an emergency meeting at 5 p.m., which led to the hiring of TCU co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente. The website reports a press conference will be held Thursday morning.
For what it's worth the Fuento-to-Memphis talk seems to be legitimate, and he is expected to be introduced as the next head coach at Memphis in the coming hours. Regardless of exactly what went down with McElwain, it seems that any possibility of him leaving Alabama for the Memphis job has now passed.
However, the fact that McElwain apparently accepted the job before an about-face raises some questions in its own right. Does this mean simply that McElwain has decided to remain in Tuscaloosa for the foreseeable future? Or, given all of the head coaching positions currently on the open market, does this mean that McElwain backed out of the Memphis job in lieu of a more attractive opening elsewhere? Is this last-second change-of-heart perhaps in any way related to the melodrama today at Arizona State? Additionally, if McElwain does accept another job in the coming days and weeks, does he stay with the Crimson Tide through the BCS National Championship Game?
While it is comforting for the time being that we do not have to handle the distraction of losing a key assistant with the national championship game less than five weeks away, not to mention the issues that would be created with his outright absence with January 9th approaching, as of right now we still have far more questions than answers.
Update: Looks like the Memphis rejection for McElwain was just a brief interlude to a search at another head coaching in the coming days. Per the Tuscaloosa News:
Jim McElwain has pulled himself out consideration for the head football coaching vacancy at the University of Memphis and is pursuing other head coaching jobs.
Sources indicated there is mutual interest between McElwain and Fresno State, where he coached before coming to Alabama in 2008, and also Colorado State.