The Dell McGee Era at Georgia State began with an enthusiastic bang Monday.

McGee, dressed in a gray suit, blue shirt and tie, listened while GSU president Brian Blake and Athletic Director Charlie Cobb sang his praises before a fervent group of patrons, supporters and staff members.

McGee’s wife, Linda, sat on the front row and could hardly hold back her tears of happiness. Their son, Austin, who signed with Georgia State in December, watched the press conference via the internet from Athens Academy.

“I’ve coached 21-plus years in the state of Georgia,” McGee said. “Atlanta is the best city in the nation. Just the high schools in the Atlanta area, along with the quality of coaches that Georgia has, this job is outrageous. We have plenty of student athletes we can acquire, identify and build.”

McGee afterwards looked natural posing behind a Georgia State jersey with No. 24 on the back — the same number he wore while playing defensive back at Auburn.

McGee was presented to the public less than two weeks after Shawn Elliott suddenly resigned to join the staff at the University of South Carolina. Cobb delivered on his promise of fast action, although he said, “I didn’t play much baseball because I couldn’t hit a curveball, but over the last handful of days I learned to stand in the box and hit one, because we got thrown a lot of curves.”

McGee, 50, was the No. 1 target. He grew up in Columbus, played football at Auburn, was a high school coach — won a state championship at Carver Columbus in 2007 — an assistant coach at Georgia Southern and at the University of Georgia, where he had coached running backs since 2016.

“And apparently you’re a wizard at recruiting,” Blake said with a smirk, causing the room to erupt in cheers.

McGee thanked a litany of mentors, from iconic Carver coach Wallace Davis to former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn to former Georgia Southern coach Willie Fritz, who continues to be McGee’s mentor and adviser. McGee was especially thankful to UGA coach Kirby Smart, who was in Hawaii when the news broke.

“Coach Smart really supported this decision,” McGee said. “We had deep conversations. He was very encouraging and he knew that I wanted to be a head coach and felt like this was a great opportunity and it was a really, really good fit.”

So the man born Antonio Deleon McGee became the fourth head coach in the history of the program.

“I’m just part of the process of trying to make the vision come to fruition of competing on a high level,” he said. “As far as our football team is concerned, we’re going to be tough and physical. We will demand that in our organization. There will not be one stone that goes unturned. We will look for new ways to do things. We’re not going to stay sale.”

McGee had a chance to meet with the team before the press conference and tamp down any uncertainties and insecurities.

“I just reassured them that I’m the right man for the job and we’re going to get the right coaches in place to make them better versions of themselves and compete for championships,” McGee said. “They were ecstatic. I can tell they’re eager to get to work.”

Linebacker Kevin Swint, who will be a fifth-year senior, said the players were overwhelmingly pleased with the announcement.

“The atmosphere was very genuine, it was very electric,” Swint said. “Everybody was into it, sitting upright in their seats. Just being eager to be coached by someone as great as him, but by somebody who is a man of character, a man of leadership, who is willing to get us better.”

McGee will begin the process of meeting each individual member of the team. He also plans to reach out to all the high school signees and their parents.

McGee now begins the process of assembling his staff. Not everyone on the current staff will be retained but he hopes to have the staff in place by the start in spring practice. As far as the roster, he will assess the needs after spring and see what is available when the transfer portal opens again in May.

Once McGee gets entrenched, he will emphasize high school recruiting and use the transfer portal to supplement the roster.

“We’re going to cut our team in high school recruiting,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent that goes unnoticed. We’ve just got to find the right diamonds in the rough, develop those guys and try to keep the big guys from taking our players.”