FRESNO -- Fresno State offensive coordinator Jim McElwain, credited with playing a significant role in the Bulldogs' turnaround, turned down the head coaching job at Eastern Washington University.
McElwain, 45, was offered the job following his second set of interviews Wednesday and Thursday, Eastern Washington associate athletic director Don Ross said.
"It is an extremely difficult and emotional decision for me, because I have some great friends at the school, and it's my alma mater," McElwain said in a statement released by Fresno State. "I am sincerely flattered to be considered for a head coaching position.
"At the end of the day, though, I feel it's in the best interest of me and my family to remain at Fresno State. My family enjoys Fresno, and that's important to me. When I took this job, I wanted to find a good place to raise a family and put down some roots, and we have found that in Fresno."
McElwain completed his first season with the Bulldogs on Monday with Fresno State beating Georgia Tech 40-28 in the Humanitarian Bowl.
Fresno State was 9-4 this season. The Bulldogs were 4-8 in 2006, ending a seven-year run of playing in a bowl. McElwain was credited for improvements in the Bulldogs' offense, most notably the play of quarterback Tom Brandstater, a Turlock High graduate.
"He was probably the biggest reason for our turnaround," Brandstater said. "Guys were talking about it. They were saying, 'I hope he doesn't leave. He's the best thing that's happened to us.'
"It's his ability to teach people what he wants to do. Anyone can draw up a great play, but he can actually teach every player at every position what to do. He's a good teacher. He can really describe something to you."
Fresno State averaged 32.8 points and 419.5 yards this season, including 210.9 yards rushing per game.
QUICK HITTERS -- Bill Stewart was promoted to head coach of West Virginia, hours after leading the Mountaineers to a stunning victory over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl. Stewart was introduced in the morning as he and his team were preparing to return home. He was appointed interim coach in mid-December after Rich Rodriguez bolted for Michigan. Stewart's five-year contract will pay $800,000 a year with incentives. Rodriguez signed a seven-year deal in August worth almost $2 million a year. ... Central Michigan coach Butch Jones agreed to a two-year contract extension, keeping him under contract for the next five seasons. ...
Shorter College and Rome-Floyd County have been awarded the 2008 and 2009 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics championship games. The 2008 championship will be played on Dec. 20 and the 2009 game on Dec. 19, both at Barron Stadium, home of the Shorter College Hawks. ... Finally confirming what had been expected for weeks, Miami defensive end Calais Campbell said he's skipping his senior season and entering the NFL draft. Campbell is one of two Miami players to leave early so far: Safety Kenny Phillips won't be back for his final year of eligibility with the Hurricanes in 2008. Both are projected to be first-round selections on most mock NFL draft boards.