Posted by Jerry Hinnen
UAB has its new head coach--and if he can do anything for the Blazers offense like he's helped do for Arkansas's, Blazers fans are in for a fun ride.
The Razorbacks issued a statement Saturday congratulating offensive coordinator Garrick McGee on being hired as UAB's head coach. And though it appears Arkansas jumped the gun just a bit by announcing the news themselves, McGee was officially named the Blazers' new head coach Sunday night.
"I have enjoyed watching Garrick progress throughout his career and I am excited to see him get this opportunity," Arkansas head coach Bobby Petrino said in his school's statement.
McGee comes to Birmingham with an impressive resume, having served on Petrino's staff for four years in Fayetteville, the most recent two as offensive coordinator. Those two seasons have seen the Razorbacks finish second and first in total offense in the SEC, and a comfortable first in passing offense both years. McGee is one of five finalists for this year's Broyles Award and has interviewed for multiple other jobs this season and last.
For a program with substantial difficulties generating fan interest and pulling in recruits -- the Blazers have a major uphill climb playing in the dilapidated Legion Field, with no history of real success -- a dynamic offense is a must. But Neil Callaway's final attack finished just 84th in total offense. Comparing McGee's resume to Callaway's shows how positive a hire this appears tobe for the Blazers, since Callaway had been a lifetime position coach with no coordinating experience; McGee, meanwhile, has served as the OC for teams that finished 10-2 in back-to-back seasons.
So this hire would appear to be an unbridled positive for the downtrodden program. But with no new stadium on the horizon and the Blazers' legacy of losing, McGee has his work cut out for him; succeed here, and a bigger job should beckon in short order.
For a full, updating team-by-team overview of 2011's coaching changes, check out (and bookmark) the Eye on CFB Coaching Changes One-Stop Shop. And voice your opinion for the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year by voting HERE.