Jim McElwain was named Alabama's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach by head coach Nick Saban on January 30, 2008, and his balanced offensive attack has helped the Crimson Tide total 47 victories during his four seasons at the Capstone. McElwain has directed the three top producing offensive units in terms of total yardage in school history over the last three years.
Since his arrival in Tuscaloosa, the offense has averaged 59.6 more yards per game and bettered its scoring by 8.9 points per contest. In 2011, the Tide has produced balanced offensive numbers, with averages of 219.8 rushing yards and 213.6 yards passing per game. In his first year starting at quarterback, AJ McCarron ranks second in the Southeastern Conference in passing efficiency (149.8) and third in the league in total offense with 197.3 yards per game.
Quarterback Greg McElroy set single-season passing records in 2010 with a 70.9 completion percentage, 20 touchdown passes and 2,987 yards. McElroy, who was named the ESPN Academic All-American of the Year, finished the year fourth nationally in pass efficiency with a rating of 168.9. His completion percentage that season was the second-best in SEC history and his career completion percentage of 66.3 was third all-time in the conference.
The 2010 offense averaged more yards from scrimmage (435.6 per game) than all but one team in school history (480.7 in 1973). The Tide also scored the second-most points in program history with 464. In addition to McElroy's record-setting passing season, wide receiver Julio Jones set single-season receiving reception and receiving yardage records. Tailbacks Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson and Jones all ranked among the SEC Top 10 in all-purpose yards.
During the 2009 National Championship season, McElwain's offense set a school record with 5,642 yards from scrimmage. Last year's unit topped that total as the Tide offense set new school marks for total yards (5,773) and total passing yards (3,395) in one fewer game than 2009.
Balance was the key for the Crimson Tide in 2009 as the Tide utilized Heisman Trophy winning Ingram in both the run and pass game, including plenty of work from the "wildcat" formation. Alabama ranked 12th nationally in rushing yards per game (215.1) and 22nd in the country in scoring (32.1 ppg). In his first year as a starting quarterback, McElroy was fourth in the SEC and 28th in the country in pass efficiency (140.6). McElroy, the MVP of the SEC Championship Game against Florida, boasted an impressive touchdown to interception ratio of 17-4 in the 2009 season.
In the 37-21 victory over Texas in the BCS National Championship Game in 2009, McElwain utilized Ingram and Richardson against the Longhorns as both rushed for over 100 yards and scored two touchdowns apiece in the Rose Bowl. Ingram was named the game's MVP on the offensive side of the ball.
McElwain's 2008 offense proved to be one of the nation's most efficient and productive units. Alabama finished fifth in the SEC in scor¬ing offense (30.1 ppg) and 35th nationally after ranking 64th (seventh in the SEC) in that category in 2007 with an average of 27.1 ppg. In addition, quarterback John Parker Wilson saw his pass efficiency rating improve from eighth to fifth in the SEC and he was named a Johnny Unitas Award finalist under McElwain's guidance. Wilson signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Falcons and earned a roster spot in 2009.
McElwain spent the 2006 season in the NFL as quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders and served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Fresno State in 2007. He made an immediate impact, helping lead the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record.
The Fresno State offense under McElwain averaged 419.5 yards per game (38th nationally) and 32.9 points per game (32nd) in 2007. That was a significant increase from the 2006 campaign when the Bulldogs averaged 338.2 yards per game in total offense and 23.0 points per game in terms of scoring offense. After Fresno State rolled up 571 yards of total offense and defeated Georgia Tech 40-28 in the Humanitarian Bowl, McElwain moved up to No. 18 in the Rivals.com national power rankings (offensive coaches). His quarterback, Tom Brandstater, finished 2007 with a passing efficiency rating of 140.5, which ranked 23rd in the country. Brandstater showed remarkable improvement under McElwain's watch as he had posted a pass efficiency rating of 106.7 (89th) the previous year.
McElwain served as the assistant head coach, receivers coach and special teams coach at Michigan State from 2003-05. The 2003 team reached the Alamo Bowl behind a receiving corps that set school records for receptions (312) and yards (3,510). He coached 2004 All-America punter Brandon Fields and kicker Dave Rayner, who led the Big Ten Conference in scoring. In 2005, five Spartan receivers had at least 28 receptions and the group combined to a set another school record with 24 touchdown catches.
Prior to his stint at Michigan State, McElwain spent three seasons (2000-02) at Louisville as the receivers coach and special teams coach as the Cardinals earned bowl bids in each of those three seasons. He coached four first-team All-Conference USA selections at Louisville and also tutored three of the Cardinals' all-time leading receivers, including Deion Branch and Arnold Jackson.
From 1995-99, McElwain was the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and receivers coach at Montana State. Under his direction, quarterback Rob Compson threw for nearly 7,000 career yards and a school-record 54 touchdowns. McElwain also coached the Bobcats' all-time leading receiver Chip Hobbs, who caught 144 career passes for 2,060 yards and 18 TDs. Montana State led the Big Sky Conference in scoring in 1998, averaging 31.6 points per game.
McElwain was at Eastern Washington from 1985-94 in a variety of capacities, starting as a graduate assistant and working his way up to quarterbacks and receivers coach. The Eagles made two NCAA Division I-AA playoff appearances (1992 and 1995) and earned a share of the Big Sky Championship in 1992. McElwain coached EWU's all-time leading receiver, Tony Brooks (2,969 career yards), who earned third team AP All-America honors in 1993.
An all-state quarterback at Missoula (Montana) Sentinel High School, McElwain played quarterback at Eastern Washington from 1980-83 and earned his degree in Education from EWU in 1984. He and his wife, Karen, have three children, JoHanna, Elizabeth and Jerret.