Florida gives McElwain $750,000 raise after winning SEC East

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) Florida gave coach Jim McElwain a $750,000-a-year raise Friday after winning the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division in his first season.

The school agreed to bump McElwain from $3.5 million to $4.25 million annually, making him the highest-paid coach in the division. McElwain remains under contract through the 2020 season.

''We recognized early in coach Mac's tenure that he totally changed the vibe around football for the Gator Nation and in the building,'' athletic director Jeremy Foley said in a statement, adding he and university president Ken Fuchs first discussed a raise in October.

''We didn't want to make it about winning one game or advancing to the SEC championship game,'' Foley said. ''We wanted to make a change because of the direction of the program and his leadership. From the moment he set foot on this campus, he has steadily put into place his blueprint for the football program. His efforts have been relentless. We are very grateful to have him and his family in Gainesville.''

McElwain is now the sixth-highest paid in the SEC, behind Alabama's Nick Saban ($7 million annually), Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin ($5 million), Mississippi's Hugh Freeze ($4.7 million), LSU's Les Miles ($4.39 million) and Auburn's Gus Malzahn ($4.35 million).

The Gators went 10-4 in McElwain's first season, winning the East for the first time since 2009.

Florida lost its final three games, though, falling to Florida State in the regular-season finale, to Alabama in the SEC title game and to Michigan in the Citrus Bowl. McElwain's offense scored a combined 24 points in those games.

Nonetheless, McElwain already has made significant changes and has more planned, most involving facility upgrades.

''It's great to know that our university and administration believe in the direction we are taking this program,'' McElwain said in a statement. ''This sends a strong message about the things we are putting in place and the work of the entire organization. It sends a real message in recruiting that we have the support and confidence in our long-term vision.''

The 54-year-old McElwain, who came to Gainesville from Colorado State, initially signed a six-year deal worth $21 million.

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AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org

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