McGee, who has spent the last two seasons as Arkansas' quarterbacks coach, is the first African-American coordinator in school history.
"Garrick McGee is one of the top young college football coaches in the country," Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said in a release through the school's media relations department. "He came to Arkansas after a successful tenure as the offensive coordinator at Northwestern. His accomplishments as an assistant coach, including as an offensive coordinator in the Big Ten, demonstrates his ability and his outstanding leadership."
McGee spent two seasons as offensive coordinator at Northwestern in 2006 and 2007. He had previously worked with Bobby Petrino when both were assistant coaches for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2000.
With Arkansas, McGee – a former standout quarterback at Oklahoma – has helped coach both Casey Dick and Ryan Mallett to record-breaking seasons. This year Mallett passed for 3,422 yards and 29 touchdowns and broke or tied 12 school records.
"I am grateful to Coach Bobby Petrino for giving me the opportunity to serve as the offensive coordinator at the University of Arkansas," McGee said in the release. "In our two seasons at Arkansas, we have begun to lay the foundation for an offensive approach that has resulted in success in the Southeastern Conference and nationally. I look forward to working with our staff to continue to build toward our collective goals."
McGee replaces Paul Petrino, who had spent the last seven seasons serving as his older brother's offensive coordinator. He was introduced at a press conference with Illinois head coach Ron Zook Monday after the News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill., reported Sunday afternoon the move was likely to take place some time this week. Petrino will also coach receivers for the Fighting Illini.
A source told Hawgs Illustrated Petrino will not coach the Razorbacks' Jan. 2 Liberty Bowl game against East Carolina. He also served as the Arkansas receivers coach.
"I want to thank my brother, Paul, for his hard work and dedication to the Razorbacks the past two years," Bobby Petrino said in the release. "He feels like this move will help him achieve his professional goals. I have always supported my brother, and will continue to do so. I wish him the best of luck.
|Marc F. Henning|
|Paul Petrino will be the fifth-highest paid assistant coach in the nation at Illinois.|
Petrino's move comes with a sizable pay raise. According to the News-Gazette Petrino signed a two-year deal and will be paid $475,000 per year, which is the fifth-largest assistant salary in college football.
He made an estimated $308,000 in 2009 at Arkansas.
An expanded role in play-calling will also be included. He has split play-calling duties with his brother for the Razorbacks and said Monday the opportunity to step out of his brother's shadow and call plays went into his decision.
As the offensive coordinator, Petrino was part of one of the most prolific units in the country this season. Arkansas ranked eighth nationally in scoring offense, 10th in passing offense and 14th in total offense through the regular season.
Petrino was one of 34 coaches nominated in November for the Broyles Award, which is given to the nation's top assistant coach.
"It has been an honor to help guide a new path at the University of Arkansas and I will always be grateful to my brother, Bobby, Athletic Director Jeff Long and the entire Razorback community for the opportunity I was given," Paul Petrino said in a statement Monday through the University of Illinois. "But now it is time to take on a new challenge, and I look forward to helping Coach Zook take the Fighting Illini back to the Rose Bowl and compete for national championships. This is an incredible opportunity for my family and our work in Champaign is underway."
Illinois is coming off a 3-9 season just two years removed from a Rose Bowl appearance. Offensive Coordinator Mike Schultz and three other assistants were fired by Zook on Dec. 11.
"I am extremely pleased about this hire," Zook said in a release Monday. "Paul is a young, talented offensive mind, who has had great success at every step in his career. He has proven himself with great offensive numbers and rankings, but what makes him most impressive is his ability to develop players and the strong relationships he has forged along the way. His offense is exciting and fun, both for the players and for the fans at Memorial Stadium."
Petrino has had other offensive coordinator stops at Louisville (2003-06) and with the NFL's Atlanta Falcons (2007).
He interviewed for the head coaching vacancy at Western Kentucky on Nov. 21 but removed his name from consideration two days later. He was also considered to be a candidate for the head coaching vacancy at Marshall.
Hawgs Illustrated will update this story