McElwain: Death threats leveled at Gators coaches, players, families

Coach says fan anger comes with territory in college football

Jim McElwain answers questions at his initial news conference as Gators' head coach.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Florida Gators coach Jim McElwain says having a thick skin is part of the deal for college football coaches, but when death threats are leveled at his team's players and the coaches' families, it's a lot harder to take. 

In his third season at the helm of the Gators, McElwain said he's more than used to the vitriol that comes with job -- particularly with his team at 3-3 and essentially out of contention in the Southeastern Conference division race.

But the death threats that have been directed at Gators coaches, players and families were enough to make McElwain shake his head and lament about the state of the world.

“I think it's a pretty good kind of lesson for the way things are. There's a lot of hate in this world. And a lot of anger. And yet it's freedom to show it,” McElwain said. “The hard part is obviously when the threat's against your own players. The death threats to your families. The ill-will that's brought upon out there.”

He declined to describe the threats or say who specifically had been threatened, but he said the level of anger being expressed is a testament to what's happening across the nation.

“In this business, we're the ones that you take the shots at. And that's the way it is,” McElwain said. “That's all part of it. You get it. It's when it's directed toward your players, when it's directed toward families, wives, that kind of thing. And yet at the same time, they know what they signed up for as well. That's part of the business.”

Copyright 2017 by WJXT News4Jax. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.