Garrick McGee, a key component in Arkansas’ offensive success during head coach Bobby Petrino’s tenure at Arkansas, is joining the University of Louisville’s football staff as the assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Petrino announced Monday.
McGee, who served recently as the UAB head coach for the last two seasons, was the offensive coordinator in 2010-11 for Petrino at Arkansas.
Before re-uniting with Petrino, McGee was a finalist for the 2011 prestigious Broyles Award that is presented to the nation’s top assistant coach.
An innovative coach and regarded as one of the nation’s finest offensive minds, McGee was responsible for Arkansas becoming one of the country’s most prolific offenses in school history, scoring 30 or more points 19 times in 36 games. As the offensive coordinator in 2010, the Razorbacks went 10-3 and earned the school’s first BCS appearance in program history as the season culminated with a loss to Ohio State at the Allstate Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
In 2011, Arkansas tied for the most wins in school history at 11-2 and owned one of the most elite scoring offenses, tallying 40 or more six times during that season. The Razorbacks led the Southeastern Conference in total offense and ranked No. 29 nationally at 438.1 yards per game. The Razorbacks ranked first in the SEC and 13th nationally in passing offense (300.7 yards per game) and were first in the league and 15th in the country in scoring offense (36.7 points per game).
The Razorbacks offense rocketed to unparalleled heights after McGee became the offensive coordinator in 2010. The offense set 11 Arkansas single-season records in his first campaign, among those being total yards (6,273), passing yards (4,338), and passing touchdowns (36).
That season, Arkansas had three offensive players 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.
A former Oklahoma quarterback, McGee was influential in the unprecedented progress of Mallett, who broke 45 school records in his two seasons and became just the third SEC quarterback to top 3,500 passing yards in back-to-back seasons and the fourth in conference history to eclipse 3,000 passing yards and 30 passing touchdowns in consecutive seasons.
In 2010, Arkansas added another dimension to its offense with a dynamic rushing attack to coincide with its potent passing game. For the first time in school history, the Razorbacks featured a 3,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season. Running back Knile Davis gained 1,322 yards on the ground, the fourth-highest single-season rushing total in program history, and was named to the AP’s All-SEC first team. Arkansas was the only school in the NCAA with a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and five 600-yard receivers in one season.
In McGee’s dynamic offense, Williams benefitted the most, being named a finalist for the Sullivan Award, presented annually to the best amateur athlete in the U.S., and was a first-team All-SEC performer. Williams also won the Mackey Award as college football’s best tight end after catching 54 passes for 627 yards, and the Disney Spirit Award, given to college football’s most inspirational player, team or figure, in 2010, becoming the first Razorback to collect either award.
Prior to being hired at Arkansas, McGee spent four seasons (2004-07) at Northwestern, where he served in four different roles. 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), while leading the Big Ten and ranking No. 31 in total offense (427.7 yards per game).
Three of Northwestern’s wide receivers ranked in the top 10 in 2005 on the Big Ten season receptions list for the first time in school history. The Wildcats became just the second team in Big Ten history to average more than 500 yards per game with 500.3 per contest, ranking fourth nationally. They also led the Big Ten and ranked seventh in the nation with 306.8 yards passing per game. In his first season at Northwestern, Wildcat receivers averaged 237.3 yards per game, NU’s best since 2001. He coached two All-Big Ten receivers in Mark Philmore and Shaun Herbert.
After his stint with the Wildcats, McGee was named the wide receivers and kickoff return coach for at UNLV in 2003.
After one season at UNLV, McGee was named the receivers’ coach at Toledo in 2002, helping the Rockets earn a spot in the Motor City Bowl with a Mid-American Conference West Division title. With McGee involved with the offense, 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).
The Tulsa, Okla., native began his coaching career at Langston (Okla.) University in 1996-98, initially coaching the defensive backs before overseeing the 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). McGee was an offensive assistant and quality control coach with the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars with 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 and went to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in 1993 before transferring 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, married in the summer of 2009. They have two sons, Cameron, 3, and Grant, 2.