Georgia is a better program with Dell McGee on its staff.
In his time at Georgia, he’s helped Nick Chubb and Sony Michel become high NFL draft picks. He’s landed 5-star prospects such as D’Andre Swift and Zamir White. He’s routinely won national recruiting battles for running backs such as James Cook and Kendall Milton.
“It’s just a great, great university,” McGee said. “The brand, the ‘G’ is recognizable nationwide and I really enjoy working for Coach [Kirby] Smart, we have a great relationship and I think that adds on to this being the best job in the country to coach running backs.”
Other than perhaps Sam Pittman, no Georgia position coach has been more integral to the Bulldogs’ success than McGee.
The running game coordinator and running backs coach is now entering his sixth year with the program, as he arrived in 2016 when Smart took over as head coach. Only McGee and inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann remain members from Smart’s first staff at Georgia.
In the time since that 2016 season, three other assistant coaches on that first staff have become head coaches at the Power 5 level. Mel Tucker is about to begin his second season at Michigan State. Pittman is going into year two at Arkansas. Shane Beamer is entering his first season as the head coach at South Carolina.
McGee would like to one day join them, as the running backs coach noted this week his desire to become a head coach.
But the head coach also notes the difficulties minorities face in becoming head coaches at this point in time.
“It’s a tough deal for minority coaches to get that opportunity and I do feel like when that opportunity does present itself, for me, or even if it doesn’t, I want to be a great ambassador for the next man that is following me,” McGee said “In particular, a man of color just because those opportunities don’t present themselves as much.”
Of the 14 SEC head coaches, zero are Black. Of the 32 NFL head coaches, only three are Black, with Ron Riveria of the Washington Football Team and Robert Salah of the New York Jets also being minorities.
McGee knows he faces an uphill climb in becoming a head coach. He acknowledged that things will have to change at much higher levels — think ownership and athletic director levels — for minorities to have a better chance of getting hired for head coaching jobs.
In the meantime, he’s more than content to continue to be one of the best position coaches in the country.
“It’s my job as a position coach, assistant coach, to do the best job I can but at the same time, I’m comfortable with where I am and I understand I don’t have control of who wants to hire a minority coach,” McGee said. “That is strictly up to that university or that NFL organization and they have to feel comfortable with that.”
In recent seasons we have seen coaches at the college level make the jump from a position coach straight to a head coaching job without having to become a coordinator first. Pittman and Beamer both did that, in coming from Georgia and Oklahoma respectively.
Marshall hired Alabama running backs coach Charles Huff as well. And it’s not like McGee is totally inexperienced when it comes to running a team. After Willie Fritz left to take the Tulane job after being the head coach at Georgia Southern, McGee took over as the interim coach for the bowl game and led the Eagles to their first-ever bowl win.
Instead of promoting McGee to the full-time head coaching role, Georgia Southern hired Tyson Summers. He was fired after going 5-13, not even making it to the end of his second season.
For the 2021 season, McGee has about as deep a running back room in the country. All five running backs from last year’s team return after White and Cook made the decision to return for their fourth seasons in Athens. Georgia also brought in 4-star running back Lovasea Carroll, though it appears he will begin his Georgia career working in the defensive backfield.
With White, Cook Milton and Kenny McIntosh, McGee expects a very competitive running back group in 2021.
“They have to be eager to learn, eager to get better, eager to improve their skills because all of our players have weaknesses that they need to work on and that needs to be a point of emphasis and that starts with me making sure they’re detailed in what they need to improve on,” McGee said.
Nick Chubb and Sony Michel 2.0?
Dell McGee makes the comparison and explains why he's glad Zamir White and James Cook are still Bulldogs: pic.twitter.com/ExSdoPktN4
— DawgNation (@DawgNation) March 4, 2021
Running back once again figures to be a strength for Georgia. That’s always been the case with McGee in charge of the position. McGee has done a significant amount of work to continue to further establish that brand and Georgia as ‘RBU’.
Some day, hopefully, a school will recognize the job McGee has done and allow him to become a head coach. Until then, he’s content to be one of the best position coaches in the country.
Dell McGee addresses Georgia running backs situation
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