The Central Michigan Chippewas football program struggled in 2022, finishing below .500 for the first time since 2018, spurring questions about the contract of head coach Jim McElwain, which was set to expire at the end of the 2023 season.
On Tuesday night, it was reported by FootballScoop’s Doug Samuels that McElwain had signed a contract to stay with the Chippewas, though details were sparse. ABC 12 in Flint corroborated the report the same night with an additional statement from the university.
“Coach McElwain agreed to a new contract in September just before the 2022 football season,” the statement said. “Our goal with this contract extension was to keep Coach McElwain in Mount Pleasant through the 2026 season.”
No name was associated with the statement.
The Detroit News’ Tony Paul reported on Wednesday afternoon that McElwain’s salary will remain close to the same base salary, with increased incentive payments, buyouts and retention bonuses.
As of publication, the university has not made a formal announcement regarding the signing outside of what ABC 12 reported.
McElwain, who originally arrived in Mt. Pleasant after a stint at Michigan as a wide receivers coach, is 24-21 overall in four seasons at the helm.
McElwain burst onto the scene in 2019, winning MAC Coach of the Year honors after taking a one-win Chippewas squad to the MAC West division title. They lost to the Miami RedHawks in the MAC Championship Game at Ford Field, but finished the year at 8-6 (6-2 MAC.)
2020 proved to be a self-admitted struggle for McElwain and crew, as a number of roster issues in regards to eligibility combined with injuries to see CMU limp to a 3-3 finish. The team rebounded in a big way in 2021, finishing the season as MAC West co-champions at 9-4 (6-2 MAC), defeating Washington State in the Sun Bowl in front of a network television audience.
2022 was not exactly a banner year, as the team finished 4-8, suffering from a myriad of issues as it pertained to depth and inexperience due to the sheer number of departures from both graduation and transfers.
But the future looks bright at least for now, as McElwain and his staff recently hauled in the MAC’s top recruiting class by rating, per 247Sports, and still have a number of contributors returning to the roster, such as first-team all-MAC defensive back Donte Kent and the young QB Bert Emanuel Jr., who dazzled weeknight audiences with a historic performance vs. Buffalo.
CMU’s 2023 season kicks off on the road Sept. 2nd, when they take on the Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing, Michigan.