Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will be Georgia’s new head coach barring an unforeseen happening, according to a source. The hiring is expected to be finalized after Alabama (11–1,76–1 SEC) plays Florida (10–2, 6–2) in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game.
Smart, 39, is considered college football’s premier young defensive mind. He has been in charge of the Crimson Tide’s defense since 2008.
This season, his unit is ranked third in scoring defense (14.3 points per game) and second in total defense (265 yards per game), which been instrumental for second-ranked Alabama.
Prior to becoming the Tide’s defensive coordinator, Smart was the program’s associate head coach and defensive backs coach for a season. He was safeties coach for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2006 and coached running backs at his alma mater, Georgia, in ’05.
Smart was LSU’s defensive backs coach in 2004 and before that was a graduate assistant at Florida State for two seasons. He was an assistant at Valdosta State from ’00-01, spending the last season as the program’s defensive coordinator.
A Montgomery, Ala., native, Smart got his start in coaching as an administrative assistant at Georgia in 1999 after playing defensive back for the Bulldogs for four seasons. He returns to his alma mater to replace Mark Richt, who was fired Sunday after a 9–3 season that ended without an SEC East title for the third straight year.
Richt coached the Bulldogs for 15 seasons, compiling a 145–51 record. However, despite consistent seasons of eight or more wins, he has been unable to deliver an SEC title to Georgia since 2005.
The expected hiring of Smart was first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.