Mike McGee began his career in college athletics as an athlete at Duke University, where he was a first-team All-American tackle in football. McGee was inducted into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1989. He was named head coach at East Carolina University in 1970. He returned to Duke as the head coach for eight seasons (1971-78).
After serving at Duke, McGee earned his Ph.D. in higher education/business administration at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.
In 1980, he was named AD at the University of Cincinnati. Three years later, the Bearcat football team defeated defending national champion Penn State.
McGee then became the AD at the University of Southern California (USC) (1984-93). During his tenure at Southern Cal, fund raising and overall revenue doubled, USC won at least one national championship each year and participated in four Rose Bowls.
In 1993, McGee joined the University of South Carolina just after the university moved to the Southeastern Conference. In his final eight years at South Carolina, 13 Gamecock head coaches earned either national or SEC Coach-of-the-Year titles.
In 2005, McGee received the Order of the Palmetto, the highest honor a civilian can receive in the state of South Carolina.
In 1985, he founded and directed for 17 years, the prestigious Sports Management Institute, the leading in-service training academy for professional staff in intercollegiate athletics.