"As a Kiwi, I am incredibly honoured and proud to be given this opportunity to coach the Lions," said Gatland, who made 17 non-Test appearances for the All Blacks between 1988 and 1991.
"My first memories of the Lions were as an eight-year-old when they came out in 1971 and beat New Zealand.
"I had the honour of playing against the Lions in New Zealand in 1993 with Waikato and I know how pumped up and proud I was on that occasion.
"With them visiting your country only once every 12 years it is your one and only chance to play against them.
"So to experience it from the other side is very special."
Gatland is currently working alongside McGeechan, Rob Howley, Shaun Edwards and Graham Rowntree within the Lions set up and the 46-year-old has made it clear that fitting into a new coaching structure has been far easier than many may think.
"It has been pretty seamless," explained Gatland.
"Ian is incredibly approachable and comfortable with other coaches leading at times and it is more of a partnership.
"But Ian has the final say on everything and leads the calls and I am more than happy with that."