Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
Garrick McGee, UAB's new football coach, gave a radio interview last Friday in an apparent effort to clear the air about his criminal record. McGee's answers, however, appeared to range from disingenuous to downright dishonest. The interview probably left many listeners scratching their heads and asking, "Why in the world did UAB hire this guy?"
McGee appeared for an in-studio interview with Paul Finebaum, host of perhaps the most influential sports talk show in the South. UAB officials had ignored the issue of McGee's criminal record when they introduced him as the Blazers' head coach last Monday. We reported here at Legal Schnauzer about McGee's brushes with the law that morning and did a followup post on Wednesday.
Mainstream news outlets ignored the issue until The Birmingham News wrote about it in both a feature story and a Kevin Scarbinsky column on Friday morning. McGee appeared on the radio Friday afternoon for an interview that, by Finebaum's standards, was remarkably gentle. Even with the host trying to cut him slack, McGee stumbled over this story. He came off as evasive (at best) and shady (at worst), failing miserably in a blatant attempt at damage control.
In fact, McGee raised more questions than he answered. And perhaps the biggest question is this: How could UAB President Carol Garrison and Athletics Director Brian Mackin hire a head coach with a criminal record and then have him so poorly prepared to answer questions about a subject they should have known was going to come up eventually?
As we reported a week ago, McGee was arrested in 1991 for his role in three burglaries while a freshman at Arizona State University. He wound up pleading guilty to theft and transferring to another school. In late 2006, while an assistant coach at Northwestern University, McGee was arrested for drunk driving while in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. He wound up pleading guilty to reckless driving.
During the radio interview, Finebaum pretty much gave McGee a pass on the charges from the early '90s. But Finebaum tried to nail him down on the relatively recent DUI charges--and that's when McGee's story went off the tracks, in three key areas.
* McGee said the original charge against him was reckless driving, not DUI. Published reports show that is not true;
* McGee said the traffic stop came after he pulled up on a curb while trying to get out of a tight parking spot. Published reports indicate that is not true;
* McGee said the arrest came the night before he was to conduct a football camp in Tulsa. Based on published reports, that statement is curious, to be sure.
Let's look at each of these issues:
The Traffic Stop
How did McGee's problems in Tulsa begin? Here is the exchange between Paul Finebaum (PF) and Garrick McGee (GM) on that subject:
PF: What did you actually do to get yourself in legal issues?
GM: Well, I was parked in a really bad spot. I was leaving dinner from having a meeting about the organization of this football camp we were putting on the next day. And I was parked in a bad spot and ran off of a curb. There was a policeman there who was parked really close to the parking lot.