Jim McElwain's first season as Florida's head coach may be rocky. But there's little question that his heart is in the right place when it comes to taking care of his players.
And his generous donation to help a former player in time of need is evidence.
As spotted by Only Gators and by Florida alumnus and Forbes contributor Darren Heitner, Matt Stephens of The Coloradoan reports the story of McElwain helping out former Colorado State player Eli Edwards.
Former Colorado State University defensive lineman Eli Edwards lost his wife, Isa Edwards, June 6 after a battle with lupus. Since then, Eli and his daughter, Ellyse, have been stuck in New Zealand — where Isa was receiving treatment — unable to afford to fly back to the United States and hold a funeral for his late wife.
To help cover the costs, Edwards setup a GoFundMe account asking for friends, if they were able, to give what they could to help bring his family home. The response has been overwhelming.
Since launching on June 8, the page has raised more than $20,000 for the Edwards family with many of the donations coming from CSU players and coaches, past and present. The largest donation was a $5,000 gift from MacFam LLC, operated by Florida football coach Jim McElwain and his wife Karen. McElwain recruited and coached Edwards at CSU.
The donation is recorded on the GoFundMe page, with this comment:
Coach Mac, Karen and Family are so saddened by the news. Our hearts and prayers are with you.
It was also made six days ago — and, given that it only became news on Tuesday, it seems likely that it was done without soliciting any fanfare or publicity.
The McElwains' donation is just one of many from the Colorado State football family, which has rallied around Edwards: Several other coaches have made donations to the GoFundMe, which is available here, and former teammates hosted a barbecue this past weekend to raise money for Edwards. But it is the largest donation, and it's one hell of a gesture from a man who makes millions because of players like Edwards.
"Just do what's right," Jim McElwain has said, repeatedly, since becoming Florida's head coach. In this instance, at least, he clearly walks his talk.