Spring football kicked off for the Colorado State Rams Monday with head coach Jim McElwain‘s press conference, and it was clear he was impressed with the work his team put in over the offseason.
McElwain’s vision, his understanding of big-time football programs and what it means to be the best led him to developing Ram U last offseason, and according to the coach, his players are much further along in their mental and physical training compared to last year. Mac also boasted about the success of CSU basketball and the togetherness among all the coaches within the athletic department.
“You cannot put a price tag on advertising,” McElwain said of the Colorado State basketball team’s success. “There’s a national advertising going on about our program. I think about waking up one morning, it was a page picture in the USA Today of Dorian (Green), you know, and that’s CSU on national stuff.”
Director of Athletics Jack Graham has talked about the sports programs being a front porch of the university, inviting outsiders to explore the academic opportunities, and the teams are already accomplishing that goal.
“What Larry (Eustachy) did with these guys, what Tim (Miles) did a year ago, I think that all that stuff multiplies,” McElwain continued. “I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to be here where I get a chance to interact with all the other coaches in all the other sports.”
When I asked him if the energy surrounding the “Bold New Era” has continued since last year McElwain said, “Absolutely. Everyone can see the direction. I think the biggest thing is when you talk about an athletic program is having a direction. And everybody knowing ‘This is where we’re going.’ And you don’t have a lot of people who have separate agendas. The agenda [at Colorado State] is let’s go all be successful and let’s do it together. It’s a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Indeed, Graham’s “Bold New Era,” which began with the hiring of Coach Mac and has continued through the best season of basketball in Colorado State history, is in full swing. Basketball and Larry Eustachy will undoubtedly be able to land bigger and better recruits with the national exposure of back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, CSU volleyball continues to be a top-25 team, softball is doing well and the school recently added women’s soccer, too.
“The overall success of the whole program is what we’re all here to do,” said Mac. “And, I just love working with these coaches that are here.”
As for McElwain’s football team, there was a slight improvement last season in the win-loss column, though it was evident the players latched onto his philosophies and improved down the stretch. They won three of their last five contests by working together and working to be excellent everyday.
And now they’re working in spring practice to continue that attention to detail, with the second of 15 practices kicking off today at 3:20 p.m. Mountain. While today’s practice is closed, three will be open to the public, including the April 20th Spring Game.