CMU's Jim McElwain sidelined with surgery for appendicitis; Tim Skipper takes over

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Those weren't stomach butterflies for the opener of the college football season.

Central Michigan head football coach Jim McElwain has been diagnosed with appendicitis and was undergoing surgery Wednesday, the university announced.

Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain

Assistant coach Tim Skipper will oversee the program until McElwain's return; there was no timetable announced by the athletic department Wednesday.

"We are hoping, praying it's one of those 24-hour deals and he gets back with us," Skipper said after practice Wednesday night. "He's getting it taken care of and we're wishing him a speedy recovery and to get back here as soon as possible.

"Coach Mac has prepared us for situations like this. I've been with him a long time. He's always about, setbacks are temporary."

McElwain, 59, is entering his third season as Chippewas head coach, after prior stints at Colorado State and Florida. Central Michigan opens the season at 4 p.m. Saturday at Missouri. It's unclear if McElwain will be there, or if Skipper, also the linebackers coach, will handle the head-coaching duties.

Skipper is in his second season with Central Michigan, after also working under McElwain at Florida and Colorado State.

McElwain is 11-9 at Central Michigan, including 3-3 in last year's shortened season, after being tapped to replace John Bonamego in what was a marquee hire for a mid-major program.

The Chippewas were picked to finish fourth in the Mid-American Conference West Division, behind Ball State, Western Michigan and Toledo, and ahead of Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois.

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984