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Jim McElwain
Jim  McElwain

Assistant Head Coach/Receivers

Jim McElwain is in his third year as assistant head coach, wide receivers and special teams coach at Michigan State.

In 2004, five Spartan receivers had at least 20 receptions, led by Jerramy Scott, who more than doubled his pass-catching total from the previous year, finishing with 39 grabs for 444 yards and three touchdowns.

In 2003, his receiving corps set Spartan single-season records for pass receptions (312), receiving yards (3,510) and TD receptions (21).

McElwain also has had an immediate impact on MSU's special teams. Over the last two seasons, Spartan special teams have produced six touchdowns, including four kickoff returns and two blocked punts that have resulted in scores.

In 2004, All-American Brandon Fields led the NCAA in punting with his 47.9-yard average. Placekicker Dave Rayner led the Big Ten in scoring (105 points), while his 22 field goals ranked fourth in the NCAA and matched his own MSU single-season record. In addition, Marshall Campbell was credited with a Spartan single-season record three blocked punts.

In 2003, the Spartans led the Big Ten in kickoff returns (23.7 avg.) and ranked second in net punting (40.7 avg.) and kickoff coverage (16.3 avg.). All-American DeAndra Cobb led the Big Ten and finished No. 11 nationally in kickoff returns with his 27.2-yard average, including an NCAA-record tying three runbacks for TDs.

The 43-year-old McElwain served as Louisville's wide receiver and special teams coach for three seasons (2000-02). He coached four first-team All-Conference USA selections including wide receiver and punt returner Damien Dorsey (2002), kick returner Broderick Clark (2002), wide receiver Deion Branch (2000-01) and return specialist Zek Parker (2001). McElwain tutored three of the Cardinals' all-time leading receivers, including Arnold Jackson (first with 300 career receptions), Branch (sixth with 143) and Parker (tied for eighth with 128). Jackson also ranks as C-USA's career leader in receptions and receiving yards (3,670).

In 2002, the Cardinals ranked among the C-USA leaders in scoring offense (third at 28.8 points per game), passing offense (third at 226.5 yards), punt returns (third at 13.3 avg.) and kickoff returns (third at 22.0 avg). Louisville's special teams produced six touchdowns in 2002, returning four punts and two kickoffs for scores, and blocked 11 kicks, including nine punts.

McElwain previously served as offensive coordinator at Montana State for five years (1995-99). In addition, he coached the Bobcat quarterbacks and wide receivers.

Under his direction, Montana State's Rob Compson threw for nearly 7,000 career yards and a school-record 54 TDs. He also coached the Bobcats' all-time leading receiver Chip Hobbs, who caught 144 career passes for 2,060 yards and 18 TDs.

In 1998, Montana State led the Big Sky Conference in scoring, averaging 31.6 points per game.

Prior to his appointment at Montana State, McElwain spent 10 years at his alma mater, Eastern Washington (1985-94), where he worked primarily with the quarterbacks and wide receivers. In addition to his coaching duties, he served as assistant athletics director, overseeing the football operating budget, organizing summer camps, coordinating team travel and assisting in fund-raising.

During his tenure at EWU, the Eagles made two NCAA I-AA playoff appearances (1985 and 1992) 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 Associated Press All-America honors in 1993. Two of his quarterbacks produced 400-yard passing games, with Todd Bernett throwing for a school-record 486 yards vs. Montana in 1994 and Rob James amassing 448 yards vs. Montana in 1986. In addition, two of his receivers posted 200-yard games, including Jason Anderson (school-record 264 vs. Montana, 1994) and Jamie Buenzli (220 vs. Northern Arizona, 1987).

An all-state quarterback at Missoula (Mont.) Sentinel High School, McElwain played quarterback for Coach Dick Zornes at Eastern Washington (1980-83).

McElwain earned his bachelor's degree in education from Eastern Washington in 1984.

Married to the former Karen Rusher, McElwain and his wife have three children: JoHanna, Elizabeth and Jerret.

YEARS AT MICHIGAN STATE: Third. Joined staff on Dec. 28, 2002, from Louisville.

PREVIOUS COACHING EXPERIENCE: College -- Graduate assistant coach at Eastern Washington (1985-86); quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Eastern Washington (1987-94); offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Montana State (1995-99); wide receivers and special teams coach at Louisville (2000-02).

EDUCATION: Bachelor's degree in education from Eastern Washington in 1984.

PLAYING EXPERIENCE: College -- Played quarterback at Eastern Washington (1980-83).

POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE: Coach - 1985 NCAA I-AA playoffs, 1992 NCAA I-AA playoffs, 2000 Liberty Bowl, 2001 Liberty Bowl, 2002 GMAC Bowl, 2003 Alamo Bowl.

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