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Why Is Football Coach Evasive About His Criminal Record?

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Message Roger Shuler
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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?"

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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?

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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.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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