Garrick McGee Introduced As Football Head Coach

Head Coach Garrick McGee addressed the media for the first time on Monday.

Dec. 5, 2011

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- UAB’s Director of Athletics Brian Mackin introduced new football head coach Garrick McGee in front of a standing room only crowd in the Green and Gold room inside Bartow Arena on Monday.

McGee becomes the fourth head coach in Blazer football history after spending the past two seasons as offensive coordinator at the University of Arkansas under Bobby Petrino.

Director of Athletics Brian Mackin
Opening Statement

“We started this process a week ago to find a new coach. Our plan was to conduct a national search and to move forward as quickly as possible from a recruiting standpoint and to put a face on the program.

We want a successful program here at UAB. The committee was looking for a coach that would bring a new level of energy and passion to the job. We wanted someone to go out and sell the program to the community and state. It was important to find a coach that placed emphasis on academics and discipline. We have found that coach. Garrick McGee brings all those qualities to UAB. We can’t wait for him to lead this football program.

He has a very impressive resume. He has been a coach both on the college and NFL level. Most recently, he served as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas. In his first year the Razorbacks made their first BCS appearance in program history. The last two seasons they have been at the top of the SEC and NCAA rankings in several offensive categories. He is one of the five finalists for the Broyles Award that is given to the top assistant coach in the nation. That is an extremely high honor for our new coach.

Before he joined the staff at Arkansas, he served on staff with several other colleges, including Northwestern, Toledo, UNLV and Northern Iowa. He also spent two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

He has experienced success at every level in his career. We are truly thrilled that he and his wife Tiffany will call Birmingham their home.”

UAB Head Coach Garrick McGee
Opening Statement

“Thank you so much. I’ve been waiting for a long time for an athletic director to announce my name as a new head football coach. I’m truly honored to head a football program at an academic institution. It’s my mission as a football coach to use the sport to train and develop young men to be better people and to make the proper decisions in life. It’s a true honor to be associated with this program.

I want to thank [UAB president] Dr. [Carol] Garrison and Brian Mackin for this opportunity. We had a really good interview process. I thank Shannon Ealy [Senior Associate Athletics Director] and Richard Margison [Vice President of Financial Affairs] and everyone involved for the tough questions and I appreciate how demanding you were and the vision you have for this program. There are certain academic standards that are in place here that I want to embrace.

What I learned at Northwestern from the late Randy Walker about an academic institution is this – if you decide to embrace what that is all about and that culture then that’s an advantage for you. You will be able to recruit young men with the character and ‘the want’. It’s important to those kids to get their college degree. That’s the way to win on the football field – you recruit the right personnel and the right kids. I want to embrace the culture here. It’s going to give me the ability to go into the home of a parent and talk about placing their young man into a locker room full of kids with character that understand the importance of education.

I want to thank Bill Carr [CARR Sports Associates] for his guidance and professionalism. I want to thank my wife Tiffany for managing everything outside of my football career and giving me an opportunity to do what I love – coach the game.

I want to have a group of young men heading in the right direction who are committed to doing the right things on and off the field and they understand that winning is the final result of doing everything else right and that’s what I love about what we are doing here.

I couldn’t stand here and not thank the people at Arkansas. I’ve been privileged to be a part of a first-class institution. They’ve provided me with the skills necessary to move into a head-coaching role where I’m confident and capable of running my own program. We’ve built a family atmosphere and bond.  It’s what gives us the ability to win games.

About 20 years ago I met a guy named Bob Petrino. At that time in my life my priorities were not in line with the direction I wanted to go. My decision-making was not on par with the family values and structure my dad put in place. But, Petrino took a personal responsibility in my career and development as a person. I was on his staff when I became a husband. I was on his staff when I became a father and I’m leaving his staff to become a head coach. He has given me the platform and put me in position to run my own program with class, dignity and ability to teach these kids how to become champions.

This is a tremendous opportunity for us to put a football program on campus and to get the students, staff, faculty and the city of Birmingham connected with the program. I want this program to be a part of this university and city. We are going to connect this program with the city and sooner than you think produce a winning football team.

I like the look in our team’s eyes. They promised me they are committed to doing the right things on a daily basis so that we could bring the Conference USA Championship here to Birmingham.

Another thing that is important is to be able to coach football in a state that values the sport. This state has produced the last two national champions. I think it’s a direct reflection of the high school coaches in the state. They’ve done a great job of developing kids who can produce on and off the field at a high level. I can’t wait to be a part of this state and the football that goes on.

I want everyone here to understand that this is your program. What we have to do every day is to do everything we possibly can to make this a successful football program.

You have to play your role so we can get a championship football program on the field rolling as soon as possible.

I’m really excited, I’m committed and I want you to know that our players made that commitment to develop day-by-day starting today. At some point next fall we are going to run a football team out on the field that understands how to compete, to build small wins one step at a time and ultimately when the clocks runs out we have more points than the other team has.

UAB Head Coach Garrick McGee
Questions and Answers

On whether or not he will be with Arkansas this season during its bowl game
“I’m going to go back to Arkansas for the next two days, but on Wednesday I will report back here and we will get started building our program here at UAB.”

On what stood out for him about UAB
“It was the people. You can build nice buildings, and all of that is important, but the people inside the buildings are what makes it run. I had a chance to talk to Brian Mackin, Shannon Ealy and Richard Margison. I talked to President Garrison and she did a really good job of explaining to me her vision for this university and her standards for this university. She explained what she expected from a football coach and she also explained her commitment to the kids in making sure that they left this university as better people. At that point I realized that my vision for these kids and her vision were the same. That’s what really made this place attractive to me.”

On whether or not he has started thinking about his coaching staff
“I have, and I think it’s important to have a plan when you get to this point in your career. I’ve been preparing for this day for a while. We are going to get some guys in place by the end of this week, and we’re going to have some guys who are going to be coaching in bowl games late in the season that will come in after January.”

On his offensive and defensive philosophies
“My offensive philosophy is to put as much pressure on the defense as we possibly can. We’re going to be attacking and playing with different personnel groups. We will have different formations to run our base-core plays. We are going to get our quarterback to execute at an extremely high level. This will be a quarterback driven offense, and he will be responsible for the leadership on the field when I’m not around. I expect him to produce and perform at an extremely high level. We will be explosive and we will expect to light it up every time we go out.

“On defense, our philosophy will involve attacking and we will have an aggressive style of defense. When you have spent your career coaching quarterbacks, you understand what it’s like to have the defense come after you and push your quarterback off of his set points. The defense keeps the quarterback guessing and makes him see one thing but then gives him something else. We are going to play an aggressive style of defense, and we won’t just stand back and take what the offense gives us. We are going to go after people.”

On the importance of upgrading the facilities at UAB
“Brian, Shannon, my wife, and I went on a tour of our facilities yesterday. When Tiffany and I got back to the hotel, I told her that everything we need to win a Conference USA Championship is in place right now. We have what we need to win. Now after we win and we put a championship team on the field, at that point I will come back and ask for more.”

On becoming the first African American head coach at a Division I school in Alabama
“That’s the first time I have heard that, so I haven’t spent much time thinking about it. Hopefully I am an example for young kids in this state and throughout the country showing that if you continue with your goals and work day-to-day to get to where you want to be in life, you can get there and there are no barriers in America anymore.”

On whether or not he has seen film on quarterback Jonathan Perry
“I have heard that name, but I haven’t watched much film. I am excited about a lot of things. I watched the Conference USA Championship, and in the back of my mind I was thinking about how I watched UAB beat Southern Miss on that Thursday night. I am excited about the personnel we have and the commitment I saw. What we have to do as a team is understand that it’s going to be a process and a grind. We have to be committed to that and understand that winning is the final result of doing everything else right.”

On whether or not Mike Anderson had any advice concerning UAB
“The first day he walked in the door at the University of Arkansas, I was sitting in our compliance director’s office. I have had a history with Mike, and we know a lot of the same people in Tulsa, Okla. Mike and I developed a relationship. When this thing came about, I called Mike and asked him to tell me about this city and program. He said that this is the perfect opportunity for me and that I was going to love it. His wife told my wife the same thing. He has been a tremendous help to me, and Mike Anderson is one of the best developers of young men. I’m proud to be friends with Mike Anderson.”

On his ability to connect with players
“I think that the first thing that is important when you develop relationships is that you set the ground rules immediately. You set the standards high and expect them to produce and perform as a student-athlete at an extremely high level on a daily basis. I talk to players about their goals and where they believe they are headed. Then I ask them if they are willing to put in the work to accomplish those goals. Once they tell me yes that they are committed to the goals, now I can hold them to those goals. That’s what gives me the ability to fuss at a player and get on him because of the mistakes that he makes. He still understands that he is still my guy, and that I still have a lot of confidence and faith in him. It’s about having high standards. I believe that kids today need and want discipline. They want someone that really cares about them to push them. I think that’s what this generation is looking for, and its worked for me.”

Sophomore WR Jackie Williams

On new head coach Garrick McGee
“There is a lot of excitement, everyone is looking forward to a new season and it seems like he is excited and committed and the players are as well.”

On McGee’s message to the players earlier this morning
“It was about the same as he discussed during the press conference. We will be building on the little wins first and when the big opportunity comes for the major wins, we want to capitalize on it.”

On how important it was that Brian Mackin got a new coach quickly
“It was good that Mr. Mackin and the staff did a great job of trying to find a coach as soon as possible. He told us that he was going to make this process quick and get a new coach in here early as possible and that’s good for the team.”

On his feelings when they announced that Garrick McGee was the new head coach
“I didn’t know too much about him. I knew he was the offensive coordinator at Arkansas just watching their games on TV and I know they are a pretty explosive team.”

On what players will have to do to get noticed with a new coach coming in
“You just have to go into it the same way you came into college when no one knew you. You have to go into the huddle and make the plays when they are given to you.”

On McGee’s philosophy with his receivers
“I know they have great receivers at Arkansas. I know they throw it a lot and he gives his playmakers the chance to make plays.”

Sophomore QB Jonathon Perry

On the hiring of Garrick McGee
“Everybody feels confident in the new coach. After meeting with him for about 30 minutes everybody was already feeling what he was bringing to the program.”

On the message Coach McGee delivered to the players earlier this morning
“It was a great message. You know he told us what he expected from us and what we could expect from him and that we had to take responsibility and get confident in ourselves so we could win games.”

On having a coach that has coached quarterbacks before
“It’s a great feeling. I have a friend that plays at Arkansas and he said he was a great coach and all I want to do is progress as a quarterback and a football player, as well as a person. I feel that Athletic Director Brian Mackin has hired a great person to help me do that, as well the other quarterbacks in the program.”

On how good it was to be getting a new head coach quickly
“That was the great part about it. Mr. Mackin said we had to trust him to get somebody quick and it was just great that we had the chance to get our head coach before we went on a break.”