LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Jim McElwain will earn at least $640,900 in his first year as head football coach at Central Michigan University, part of a five-year, $3.4 million deal he signed with the university Monday.
The contract, which News 10 obtained via Freedom of Information Act request, confirms the basic details that CMU athletic director Michael Alford told the university’s student-run newspaper on Monday:
- The contract runs for five years, ending in 2023.
- A $400,000-per-year base salary.
- $190,000 of additional compensation in McElwain’s first year.
- A yearly $50,000 retention bonus.
Along with his guaranteed pay, McElwain’s contract outlines $380,000 of yearly bonus money contingent on his performance, which will give him the ability to earn a grand total of $1,020,900 next year. Although, some achievements are more within reach than others.
- McElwain will earn $7,500 if the Chippewas win seven games in 2019. That figure increases by $2,500 for each additional win up to 12.
- Each win over a Power Five conference school will earn McElwain $10,000. Next season, CMU visits Wisconsin from the Big 10 and Miami (FL) from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
- McElwain will earn $20,000 if the Chippewas win a Mid-American Conference West division title and $25,000 if they win a conference title.
- He will also pocket $20,000 if he leads his team to a bowl game and $25,000 if they win.
Here are some of the loftier things that would increase his payday:
- $75,000 for participating in a New Year’s Six bowl game, which means CMU would have to finish the season as the nation’s best non-Power Five school.
- $100,000 if the Chippewas make the College Football Playoff.
- $20,000 if they finish the season ranked in the CFP Top 25.
- $25,000 if McElwain is MAC Coach of the Year and $35,000 if a major publication names him National Coach of the Year.
One of the few non-athletics bonuses in McElwain’s contract is a $15,000 bonus if his team’s cumulative grade point average is above 3.0.
McElwain’s contract also outlines some perks, including “... use of a private stadium box for all home contests; membership privileges at a private golf club; the ability for Coach’s spouse to travel to all away contests without cost; and tuition waiver for members of Coach’s immediate family (in accordance with NCAA regulations).”
McElwain’s base salary of $400,000 is the second-lowest in Division I FBS, according to USA Today’s head coach salary database. His guaranteed total of $640,900 climbs him a couple dozen spots, but still does not break the top 100. However, that figure ranks third in the MAC, which is where his predecessor, John Bonamego, sat with $655,000 in annual compensation.
McElwain will be the third new head coach in the conference next year, along with Bowling Green’s Scot Loeffler and a skipper yet to be named at Akron.
CMU formally introduced the 56-year-old on Monday. McElwain was most recently the wide receivers coach at the University of Michigan. He was head coach at Colorado State from 2012 to 2014 and at Florida from 2015 to 2017.
CMU fired Bonamego last month after the Chippewas finished his fourth season with a 1-11 record. If McElwain meets the same fate next year, CMU will be on the hook for a $1.2 million buyout, which decreases by $200,000 in each subsequent year he stays at the university.