Bulldogs' coordinator will stay put

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.

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