Garrick McGee, offensive coordinator at the University of Arkansas the past two seasons and a finalist for the 2011 Broyles Award that is presented to the nation's top assistant coach, has been named head football coach at UAB, Blazers' Director of Athletics Brian Mackin announced Sunday.
McGee was introduced at a Monday morning news conference in UAB's Bartow Arena.
McGee becomes the fourth head coach in UAB history and replaces Neil Callaway, who resigned his position Nov. 27.
McGee, a former Oklahoma quarterback, has been a leading force behind Arkansas becoming one of the country's most prolific offenses in recent years. In his first season as the offensive coordinator in 2010, the Razorbacks earned the school's first BCS appearance in program history as the season culminated at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
Arkansas leads the Southeastern Conference this season in total offense and ranks No. 28 in the NCAA at 445.8 yards per game. The Razorbacks also rank first in the SEC and 12th nationally in passing offense (307.8 ypg) and second in the league and 14th in the country in scoring offense (37.4 ppg).
"When we began the process a week ago to find a new coach to lead our football program, it was our goal to find a coach who met a certain profile who could be successful at UAB," Mackin said. "Garrick McGee brings all of the qualities to UAB that we were looking for in a coach. Coach McGee brings energy and passion to our program, and will get out in the community to sell UAB football. We are extremely excited to have Garrick McGee as our football coach."
"I'm very excited about the opportunity at UAB and the fact that this is an academic institution first and one that values education," McGee said. "My responsibilities are to make this a competitive program on the field.
"I expect to win here and win the Conference USA championship. I think when you're in a state that values the sport of football the way that this state does, then there should be no reason why we can't compete for the conference championship.
The Arkansas offense escalated to an unprecedented level after McGee became the offensive coordinator in 2010. The unit set 11 UA single-season records in his first season, among those total yards (6,273), passing yards (4,338) and passing touchdowns (36).
Arkansas had three offensive players selected in the 2011 NFL Draft. Quarterback Ryan Mallet was chosen by the New England Patriots, tight end D.J. Williams was taken by the Green Bay Packers and offensive tackle DeMarcus Love was picked by the Minnesota Vikings.
"Garrick McGee is an outstanding hire for UAB and we are very excited that he will be leading Blazer football," said UAB President Carol Garrison. "Congratulations and thanks to our athletics director Brian Mackin and the entire search committee for working so quickly and successfully."
Before joining the staff at Arkansas, McGee spent four seasons (2004-07) at Northwestern University, where he was the receivers and punt return coach his first two seasons and the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007.
Directing the Wildcats' spread offense, McGee's 2007 unit led the Big Ten and was No. 11 in the nation in passing (307.9 yards per game) and led the Big Ten and was No. 31 in the country in total offense (427.7 yards per game).
McGee was the receivers and kickoff return coach for head coach John Robinson at UNLV in 2003.
In 2002, he was the receivers coach at Toledo, helping the Rockets earn a spot in the Motor City Bowl with a Mid-American Conference West Division title. Toledo was fifth in the nation in total offense with 472 yards per game, setting school records for total offense (6,752 yards) and passing yards (3,611).
A native of Tulsa, Okla., McGee began his coaching career at Langston (Okla.) University where from 1996-98 he coached defensive backs before moving to quarterbacks, receivers and special teams.
He was the receivers and kickoff return coach at Northern Iowa in 1999, helping UNI set school records for total offense (5,253 yards) and passing yards (3,722).
In 2001 and 2002, he was an offensive assistant and quality control coach with the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars. He worked as an assistant to then-quarterbacks coach Bobby Petrino, helping quarterbacks and receivers with fundamentals and assisting in all phases of special teams.
Prior to the 2005 season, McGee was one of 10 coaches selected to participate in the NCAA Expert Coaching Academy. The program is designed to teach and reinforce various aspects of securing, managing and excelling in NCAA head coach positions at the I-A level. In the summer of 2010, he was one of 15 coaches to attend the NCAA Champions Forum in Anaheim, Calif. The goal of the Champions Forum is to link the coaches with athletics directors.
McGee attended Booker T. Washington High in Tulsa and played for his father, the late Larry McGee. He played at Arizona State in 1991 and 1992 under Petrino, went to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in 1993 and transferred to Oklahoma.
He played two years for the Sooners and ended his career fourth on OU's career passing list with 2,449 yards. He was named the Big Eight Newcomer of the Year by the league's coaches in 1994.
McGee earned an associate's degree from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in 1993 and his bachelor's from OU in 1996.
He and his wife, Tiffany, were married in the summer of 2009. They have two sons, Cameron, 1, and Grant, born in September 2011.