Former MSU quarterback DeNarius McGhee joined the Montana State Football coaching staff in January 2017, and is excited for a successful season of Bobcat football. McGhee played for the Bobcats during the 2009-2012 seasons after redshirting in 2009. During his time as a player, he led the Bobcats to three straight Big Sky Conference titles (2010-2012), and set several impressive records of his own. Since January, McGhee has already developed strong relationships with the other coaches and players, and is looking forward to the upcoming season as a coach at his alma mater.
“I never thought it would actually come true, but I always wanted to coach, and specifically to be the quarterbacks coach here,” McGhee said. Hailing from Dallas, McGhee ended up playing in Bozeman thanks to the recruitment of former coach Justin Gaines. “[Gaines} did everything in his power to get me to Bozeman, and painted a picture that made it so I couldn’t deny at least coming to visit,” McGhee said. “He did a great job of communicating the following we have here at MSU. When the people are nice and extremely passionate about football, that’s a big draw. Both the environment and the opportunity to win championships, as well as the ability to be accepted for who I am, really brought me here.”
Playing in Bozeman meant fulfilling family dreams and gaining irreplaceable experiences and life knowledge. “My dad had the dream that I would get a great education, and he wanted me to win championships. We were able to win three while I was here,” McGhee said. “I developed as an individual. I was able to do all kinds of things, from fly fishing to ziplining. When I first got here, I didn’t have much of an idea of what great time management skills looked like and what they could allow you to do as a student athlete, and I didn’t know much about saving and budgeting,” he said. “By the time I left here, I had really good time management skills, and I graduated with a degree in business management and marketing. Given that, I want to provide that same kind of experience for the young athletes we have now.”
McGhee was hired by Head Coach Jeff Choate and was excited to return as a coach at MSU not only because of his love for Bobcat football, but because of what the school has done for him. “I came back because MSU has given so much to me, especially with the opportunity to get my degree. I was the first from my family to graduate from college, and now my sister is a freshman here at MSU, so hopefully that will make two from our family to graduate college,” McGhee said.
Before coaching at MSU, McGhee worked as an offensive graduate assistant at North Carolina State (2015-16) and at Florida Atlantic (2014). McGhee transitioned from player to coach immediately after graduation, and has been able to learn a lot. “The transition from player to coach has been smooth. I played in the Canadian Football League for a little bit but I lived in Austin in between. One of my friends helps run camps for the Dallas Cowboys, and he got me involved in helping coach the quarterbacks at those camps, and I loved it. You get to teach those young men some of the things you’ve learned from those really good coaches.”
Working with the other coaches has been something McGhee has enjoyed. “I love the other coaches, starting with Choate. The vision he has for our program is about both education and winning championships. He is dedicated to doing that, and he’s a players’ coach first,” McGhee said. “These coaches are all hardworking guys who love the kids, and it’s awesome to be a part of something like that. We’re building in Bozeman.”
McGhee has actively been working with the young quarterbacks during the spring practices, and is excited about what he sees and what the future of Bobcat football will look like. “Developing the quarterbacks has been my favorite part of coaching so far. They’ve definitely progressed, which has been great,” McGhee said. While here as a player, McGhee led the Cats to two wins over the Univeristy of Montana Grizzlies, and he wants to help this team do the same. “The expectations are high, and we want to compete for championships. That’s our hope, and if our guys work for it, we can get there.”
Working to help the quarterbacks develop both as players and as individuals is something that is very important to McGhee as he takes on this coaching position. “You’re like a father away from home, and you have to make sure they understand the image they have to hold while they’re here, and help them learn how to express themselves.”
Returning as a coach to the school where he played, graduated from and where his sister now attends is meaningful to McGhee. “It’s a great opportunity. I can’t really put into words what it means. Not only do I love football, I love how passionate the people are about athletics. I love the city. So that’s what it means to me to coach here.”