McGinley got the nod at Tuesday's European Tour tournament committee meeting in Abu Dhabi, the Dubliner seeing off four other candidates - Scottish trio Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie and Sandy Lyle, and Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez - to land the coveted position.
McGinley, a match-winning hero of Europe's 2002 win and an assistant in the last two victories, was the unanimous choice of the committee on which he also sits, and is relishing the opportunity to pit his wits against United States skipper Tom Watson next year.
"I'm obviously absolutely thrilled and delighted to have this honour," said McGinley, who was asked to leave the room while his candidacy was put under the microscope by the committee.
Watson was quick to offer his congratulations, describing McGinley as "a class act".
"I anticipate that his passion and love of the event will transfer to being an outstanding leader of his team," Watson added. "Paul has been connected to winning European Ryder Cup teams and is an outstanding representative of European golf. I look forward to sharing the stage with him as we make our journey to Scotland."
McGinley added: "It's a humbling experience and it's a week I'm really looking forward to. I knew I had the support of the players - not just Rory."
The support of world number one McIlroy certainly helped McGinley's cause. Even after Watson was put in charge by the Americans for next year's match at Gleneagles, McIlroy saw no need to deviate from his view that 46-year-old McGinley was the right man for the job.
"I don't mind it being a David and Goliath situation in terms of the captains. It's won on the course, not on the stage," said McIlroy, who turned up at McGinley's press conference to congratulate him in person. "I have a very strong opinion about this. I really think Paul deserves it.
"He has been a great player and a great personality for the European Tour over the years. I also played under him at the Seve Trophy in 2009 and I thought he did a great job. From all the captains I've played under, I think he was the best."