Kirby Paul Smart (born December 23, 1975) is an American football coach and former player. He is head coach of the University of Georgia. He previously served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Alabama.
Smart at a press conference in 2018
|Annual salary||$6.43 million|
|Born||December 23, 1975|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|1999||Georgia (admin. asst.)|
|2000||Valdosta State (DB)|
|2001||Valdosta State (DC)|
|2002–2003||Florida State (GA)|
|2006||Miami Dolphins (S)|
|Head coaching record|
|Accomplishments and honors|
|1 SEC (2017) |
2 SEC Eastern Division (2017–2018)
|SEC Coach of the Year (2017)|
AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year (2012)
Broyles Award (2009)
Smart was born in Montgomery, Alabama and grew up in Bainbridge, Georgia. The son of a high school football coach, Smart began his playing career at Bainbridge High School and went on to play college football at the University of Georgia, where he was teammates with defensive linemen Antonio Cochran, Emarlos Leroy, linebacker Brandon Tolbert, and NFL Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey. Smart was a four-year letterman at defensive back for Georgia and a first-team All-SEC selection as a senior. He finished his career with 13 interceptions, which ranks fourth all-time at Georgia, and led the Bulldogs with six interceptions in 1997 and five in 1998. He was also a four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll. Smart graduated from Georgia in 1999 with a degree in finance. He went undrafted in the 1999 NFL Draft and signed a free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts. He spent the 1999 preseason with the team but was cut before the start of the regular season.
Smart began his coaching career with the University of Georgia in 1999, serving as an administrative assistant. He then moved to Valdosta State where he spent one season as defensive backs coach before being promoted to defensive coordinator for the 2001 season. From 2002 to 2003, Smart worked as a graduate assistant under Bobby Bowden at Florida State while pursuing a master's degree. He received his master's degree from FSU in 2003. Smart then spent one season as defensive backs coach at LSU under head coach Nick Saban in 2004. Smart rejoined the Georgia Bulldogs football program to serve as running backs coach for the 2005 season. His only season in the NFL came in 2006, during which time he coached under Saban again, this time as the Miami Dolphins safeties coach.
Smart followed Nick Saban to the University of Alabama in 2007. He was hired by Saban as an assistant coach on January 9. On February 27, 2008, Smart was promoted to defensive coordinator. On December 8, 2009, Smart was awarded the Broyles Award as the nation's best assistant coach. He was the first Alabama assistant coach to win the award. Alabama would go on to win the BCS National Championship. Smart considered a lucrative contract to be the defensive coordinator at his alma mater, the University of Georgia, but chose to stay with the Crimson Tide in early January 2010. In 2011, Smart's defense helped Alabama win another championship, beating LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. On March 27, 2012, the University of Alabama System's Board Of Trustees voted to increase Smart's salary and extend his contract. On November 20, 2012, Smart was recognized as the 2012 AFCA FBS Assistant Coach of the Year. Alabama would win another national championship, beating Notre Dame with a bruising defense. On April 16, 2013, Smart was granted a $200,000 salary increase to make him the highest-paid defensive coordinator in college football.
Return to GeorgiaEdit
On December 6, 2015, Smart was announced as the 26th head football coach at the University of Georgia. Smart went 8–5 in his first season as the head coach of the Bulldogs in 2016. The Bulldogs finished tied for second in the SEC East division. In the 2017 season, Smart led the Bulldogs to their first 9–0 start since 1982 and won the SEC East after a victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks on November 4. On December 2. 2017, Smart coached Georgia to its first SEC title since 2005, and only the fourth 12-win season in school history (1980, 2002, 2012). On December 3, Georgia was ranked No. 3 by the College Football Playoff Committee and was set to play No. 2 Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. Georgia rallied from a 31–14 first half deficit, ultimately defeating Oklahoma 54–48 in double overtime, completing the largest comeback in Rose Bowl history. In his 2018 season, Georgia completed the regular season with an 11-1 record and earned a spot in the 2018 SEC Championship game as the Eastern Division Champions. Georgia would play the Western Division Champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide. Georgia would end up losing 35-28 against Alabama. Georgia earned an invitation to play in the 85th Sugar Bowl Classic against #15 Texas Longhorns. Texas would beat the #5 Georgia Bulldogs 28-21 and finish the season 11-3.
Smart was a member of the Georgia Beta chapter of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, and he is married to Mary "Beth" Elizabeth Lycett, who played basketball for the University of Georgia. The couple has three children.
Head coaching recordEdit
|Georgia Bulldogs (Southeastern Conference) (2016–present)|
|2016||Georgia||8–5||4–4||T–2nd (Eastern)||W Liberty|
|2017||Georgia||13–2||7–1||1st (Eastern)||W Rose†, L CFP NCG†||2||2|
|2018||Georgia||11–3||7–1||1st (Eastern)||L Sugar†||8||7|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title or championship game berth|
Notable head coaches under whom Smart has served:
- Bobby Bowden: Florida State (2002–2003)
- Nick Saban: LSU (2004), Miami Dolphins (2006), Alabama (2007–2015)
- Mark Richt: Georgia (2005)
Assistants under Smart who became NCAA or NFL head coaches:
- Lycett-Smart families (October 8, 2006). "Lycett-Smart wedding". Athens Banner-Herald. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
- "From small towns to Sanford Stadium, Kirby Smart is the same man he was back when". Sowega Live. December 3, 2015. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- "Kirby Smart - RollTide.com". RollTide.com. Archived from the original on June 1, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
- "BamaMag.com Home". alabama.scout.com.
- "Georgia Bulldogs greats: Kirby Smart the player". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- "Athens to Valdosta: The story of Kirby Smart's first job". DawgNation. December 19, 2015. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- "Players, staff saw potential when Kirby Smart was a G.A. for FSU". Warchant.com. January 8, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- "Before leading Georgia to dominance, Kirby Smart was the new guy on a legendary LSU staff". NOLA.com. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- "How Kirby Smart got Georgia this far this fast". ESPN.com. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- Starrs, Chris. "GAMEDAY: A look back: Gibson lifts Georgia in 2004". Athens Banner. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- "'Bama's Saban Names Three Assistants". CSTV.com. January 9, 2007. Retrieved February 27, 2008.
- "Saban Announces Football Staff Addition as well as Two Promotions". RollTide.com. February 27, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2008.[dead link]
- Kausler, Don, Jr. (December 8, 2009), "Frank Broyles Award goes to Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart", The Birmingham News
- Kausler, Jr., Don (November 20, 2012). "Alabama's Kirby Smart named the assistant coach of the year by the AFCA". AL.com. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
- Scarborough, Alex (April 16, 2013). "Alabama approves coach contracts". ESPN.com.
- "University of Georgia Official Athletic Site". www.georgiadogs.com.