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— Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino didn’t waste any time naming his next offensive coordinator.

The Razorbacks’ coach said his search for a new assistant to replace his departed brother, Paul Petrino, will begin immediately, too.

Petrino promoted quarterbacks coach Garrick McGee to offensive coordinator less than 24 hours after news broke that Paul Petrino was heading to Illinois to run theIllini offense.

McGee earned the promotion after working with Arkansas’ quarterbacks the past two seasons. He also was Northwestern’s offensive coordinator in 2006 and 2007 before coming to Arkansas.

“Garrick McGee is one of the top young college football coaches in the country,” Petrino said in a statement. “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.”

Neither Petrino nor McGee were available for comment Monday, but the assistant seemed like the logical choice to replace Petrino in the offensive coordinator position. He also becomes the first African-American offensive or defensive coordinator in school history, according to Arkansas’ news release.

Bobby Petrino will remain the Razorbacks’ offensive play-caller and decisionmaker. But McGee is expected to have plenty of input in game-planning for opponents during the week and helping with play-calling.

McGee is also likely in line for a raise. He was one of the lower paid assistants on Arkansas’ staff last season, earning $193,000. Salary figures were not available Monday, but Paul Petrino earned $308,000 as Arkansas’ offensive coordinator last season.

“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 athletic department release. “In our two seasons at Arkansas, we havebegun to lay the foundation for an offensive approach that has resulted in success in the Southeastern Conference and nationally.”

Meanwhile, McGee’s predecessor was formally introduced as Illinois’ new offensive coordinator at a press conference Monday .

Paul Petrino said moving to Illinois to help a program that slumped to 3-9 under coach Ron Zook last season was an opportunity he couldn’t refuse. He has made it no secret that his goal is become a head coach and will have more responsibilities at Illinois, calling plays and running the offense for the Illini.

The News-Gazette in Illinois reported that Petrino agreed to a two-year contract that will pay him $475,000 annually.

“That’s definitely something that’s hard,” Petrino said of leaving his brother. “But he wants me to be the best and he wants things to go good. So I think both of us are both happy and excited and we’ll move on and see what happens. Maybe we’ll play each other for the national championship. That would be great.”

Sports, Pages 14 on 12/16/2009

Print Headline: Arkansas names new offensive coordinator

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