Three long years ago, when Jim McElwain was hired, I wrote up an in depth “contract” to lay down what I felt were reasonable guidelines for both McElwain and the Gator fan base to ensure that his tenure would be enjoyable for all. It… didn’t go so well, although in my defense I figured making up unsubstantiated claims about death threats was basic common sense and thus something that didn’t need to be added to an unofficial contract.
So, Take Two. Let’s try again.
1) Coach winning obligations. The coach hereby agrees to the following terms regarding winning games at Florida:
1.1) Because of the mess left by his predecessor, Coach gets a grace period of two full years to rebuild the program before it becomes fair to judge him. Note: all ensuing clauses in Section 1 do not take effect until 2020 season unless the first two years help Coach fulfill his obligations. In other words, years One and Two can only help, but cannot hurt Coach in fulfilling obligations.
1.2) General outlook: Coach understands that he was not hired by Florida to play second fiddle to anybody, particularly within the same division and the same state. While of course it is not fair to expect national championships or even New Year’s Six Bowl berths every year, Coach understands that the job the previous two coaches did was wholly unacceptable, and that he was hired not to match what they did but exceed it. The University of Florida is a top tier program, and needs to be competing for national championships (note: competing for, not necessarily win) more years than not. Once two year grace period passes, this is the expectation.
1.3) Coach agrees to beat Georgia at least three times every five years. Exceptions will be granted if Georgia is a top five ranked team, in which case Coach agrees to beat them every other time in which they are a top five team. In addition, Coach agrees to always beat Georgia in years which they enter the game .500 or worse.
1.4) Coach agrees to beat Florida State at least three times every five years, including every year in Gainesville. Exceptions will be granted in either case if FSU is a top five ranked team, in which case Coach agrees to beat them every other time in which they are a top five team. In addition, Coach agrees to always beat FSU in years which they enter the game 7-4 or worse.
1.5) Coach agrees to beat Tennessee, Kentucky and Vanderbilt every year. Until further notice, these three schools are irrelevant. Should any of them unexpectedly become decent, which is defined as averaging nine wins a year over a three year period, this clause shall be revisited.
1.6) Coach agrees to always beat lower level teams. Losing to a lower level team, which is defined as a team that plays in the FCS, or a team outside the SEC/Big 10/Big 12/Pac/12/ACC that is not ranked in the Top 25, shall result in immediate loss of support from fan base should it come in Coach’s third season or later. A reprieve shall be granted for a loss to a lower level team in Coach’s first or second years, but Coach understands that in this case, his expectations in succeeding years are increased dramatically.
1.7) Coach agrees to lead Florida to a bowl game and win at least six games every season. Failure to do so, meaning finishing 5-7 or worse, shall result in immediate loss of support from the fan base should it happen in Coach’s third season or later. A reprieve shall be granted in Coach’s first year, but Coach understands that in this case, his expectations in succeeding years are increased dramatically. Exceptions will be granted if program suffers an unforeseen sequence of events that results in several key players all being unable to play (such as widespread injury or off-field problems). Given that coach guided Mississippi State to a bowl game every year after his first year, this is not expected to be an issue.
1.8) Coach agrees to win eleven games or more (including SEC Championship and bowl game) every other season OR average ten wins a season. Either shall be sufficient.
1.9) Coach agrees to reach SEC Championship game three out every five years AND win SEC Championship twice every five years.
1.10) In the event that Coach wins a national championship, leeway shall be granted from fans with clauses 1.3-1.9 and 1.12 for one full recruiting class (four years) following the championship.
1.11) Coach agrees to run up the score on any opponent who does anything to egregiously mock, attempt to injure or otherwise disrespect Florida. “Run up the score” is defined as scoring points whenever it is realistically possible to do so; for example, getting the ball inside Florida’s own 5 yard line with a minute remaining would not be a realistic opportunity to score, while getting the ball at the opponent’s 40 with two minutes remaining would be. Coach does have the right to pull his starters to avoid the risk of injury in such an event, but he must still try to score with his backups. Teams that act normal, i.e. display class and respect shall be replied to with relative mercy from Coach in the event of a Florida blowout.
1.12) Coach agrees to run an offense that finishes in the top 50 of FBS every year. Exceptions shall be granted if offense is ranked between 50-60 one out of every five years.
1.11) Coach agrees to hire competent coordinators and assistants. Competent is defined as having prior position coaching experience at another FBS school. Exceptions shall be made for a young GA from a school that Coach brings in to learn for a few years as a GA and then allows him to take over when current assistant leaves.
2) Coach’s recruiting obligations. Coach hereby agrees to the following terms regarding recruitment of players:
2.1) Coach agrees to land one player at every major position, particularly QB, in every class. Exceptions shall be granted if Florida is already loaded at that position, but Coach must then redouble his efforts at that position the following cycle.
2.2) Coach agrees to recruit hardest in positions that are weakest at the time then current.
2.3) Coach agrees to “clean up” in the state of Florida. “Clean up” is defined as landing at least half of all the players seriously needed by the program, which is determined by the current needs of the team. For example, if Florida makes a serious effort for a top 10 receiver, a top 10 linebacker, a top 10 cornerback and a top 10 kicker from the state of Florida, Coach must get two of them.
2.4) In addition to the state of Florida, Coach agrees to treat the land as far north as Charlotte, as far west as New Orleans, and as far northwest as Memphis as home territory. Never mind that other schools are closer. Coach agrees to recruit this region just as hard as the state of Florida (or have his assistants of it). For players in this area that could be a great benefit to Florida AND express interest in Florida, Coach agrees to land at least one of every two such players.
2.5) Coach agrees to deal swiftly and accordingly with any coach found to have committed a recruiting violation.
3) Coach’s team uniform obligations. The coach hereby agrees to the following terms regarding his team’s uniform combination:
3.1) Coach agrees to dress Gators accordingly depending on opponent. For example, when playing Kentucky, Florida shall not wear all blue; when Florida plays Tennessee, Florida shall not wear all orange; when visiting another team that’s going with a fan whiteout, Florida shall not wear white pants. Beyond that, Coach shall feel free to mix and match jersey color combos as he pleases.
3.2) Coach agrees to mark big games with special uniform combinations. Florida’s standard color combination at home is blue jerseys, white pants. A home game against FSU should be noted with either blue on blue, blue on orange, or orange on blue, as should the game against Georgia in Jacksonville. Florida’s standard road color combination is white jerseys, blue pants. White on white shall be saved for big road games, like at FSU or Georgia.
3.3) Coach agrees to NEVER dress his players in the brown/green/gray/beige/whatever you want to call the jerseys Florida wore against Texas A&M last year. Special/alternate jerseys are not only welcome, they are encouraged, but those particular jerseys were nothing more than a glorified assault on the human eyes. Get rid of them, please.
3.4) Florida has plenty of different jersey color combinations to choose from, with orange and white as helmet options, and blue, orange and white as both jersey and pants option. Coach is encouraged to use as many different color combos as possible, as this is a low-key recruiting tool.
4) Coach’s off field obligations. Coach hereby agrees to the following terms regarding his off field behavior:
4.1) Coach is required to not lie about receiving death threats. Most people would consider this such an elementary level of common sense it shouldn’t be in a contract, but evidently it isn’t. In the event that Coach does receive death threats, Coach shall report them to Athletic Director, Sports Information Director or local police. Note: lying about receiving death threats, or otherwise painting the Gator fan base as deranged psychopaths who clamor for blood at the first sign of adversity, is the one exception to the two year grace period. Anybody over the age of four should be aware of the consequences of doing so, and doing so shall result in immediate loss of support from the fan base.
4.2) In the event that one of Florida’s players gets in legal trouble, Coach agrees to wait out legal process. However, if player is found guilty of any form of assault or battery (aggravated, sexual, on a child, etc.), credit card theft, robbery, or any other crime that carries a lengthy jail sentence, Coach is required to remove player from program.
4.3) In the event of smaller crimes, such as marijuana possessions, underage drinking, suspended driver’s license, etc. Coach may decide to give player second chance. However, a second such infraction shall result in punishment of the player that includes a suspension of up to half a season. A third such infraction shall result in removal of player from program.
4.4) Coach agrees to be friendly to the media and fans at all time.
4.5) Coach is not required to throw shade or talk trash; however, Coach is required to stand up for his players and defend them against false accusations.
5) Fan obligations. Fans hereby agree to the following terms:
5.1) Fans agree to support and embrace Coach for entirety of first two years regardless. A lone exception will be made and support from fan base shall be lost if Coach lies about receiving death threats or otherwise goes out of his way to make the fan base look bad.
5.2) Fans agree to fill the Swamp for every home game. NO EMPTY SEATS. NO EXCEPTIONS. Fans also agree to fill out their half of neutral site games, which include Georgia, the SEC Championship Game, bowl games, and the Camping World Kickoff Classic against Miami in 2019.
5.4) Fans agree to obey Coach’s orders to wear a certain color in order to match players’ uniforms.