Kirby Smart has no intentions of leaving his post as Georgia football coach any time in the near future — or ever, for that matter.
“Why would I leave home?” Smart said Thursday night in his hometown of Bainbridge, Ga., during a question and answer session, according The Post Searchlight.
“I have more passion and energy in my heart for the University of Georgia than you’ll ever realize,” Smart said. “Because it did more for me than anything I’ve been to in my life.”
Smart was an All-SEC safety at Georgia and four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll (1995-98), graduating from UGA’s celebrated Terry College of Business.
Smart began his coaching career with the Bulldogs as an administrative assistant on Jim Donnan’s staff in 1999. He returned in 2005 to serve as an assistant to former coach Mark Richt.
Smart’s 32-10 record through three years as Georgia’s head coach marks the highest winning percentage (.762) in UGA history.
The Bulldogs recently had seven players selected in the 2019 NFL draft and are poised to break the program record next year.
Only 43 years old, Smart has already delivered an SEC Championship. UGA was seconds away from the College Football Playoff Championship in 2017 and narrowly missed a second College Football Playoff appearance in 2018.
Smart has been paid appropriately for his success. He draws a $7 million per year salary as part of the seven-year, $49 million contract extension he signed last year.
Still, there has been speculation that the NFL or Alabama might one day lure Smart away from his alma mater, as it has many other great coaches.
Florida’s Steve Spurrier is a prime example.
Spurrier was a Heisman Trophy winner for the Gators who came back to coach his alma mater for 12 years (1990-2001) before leaving for the NFL’s Washington Redskins.
Spurrier ultimately returned to college coaching, but he did so at South Carolina, where he coached another 11 years.
Smart could be different in the sense that he grew up and played his high school football in Georgia, whereas Spurrier was raised in Tennessee.
Smart’s appearance at the Bainbridge football fundraiser at the Bainbridge Country Club on Thursday night served as evidence of his loyal nature.
“I get asked to speak a lot, but I asked to speak at this event,” Smart said, according to his hometown newspaper. “You got me now because you put Bainbridge back on the map, put it where it’s supposed to be.”
Bainbridge, where Smart starred before choosing Georgia, beat Warner Robins 47-41 in triple overtime of the Class AAAAA State Championship Game last season.
Smart shared how Bainbridge is what led him to the national level of success he’s enjoying at Georgia.
“I had the great fortune of going (to Georgia),” Smart said. “Probably would have never gotten there without some of the great people in this room.
“I assure you, it was what drove me to success.”
Smart has been proactive designing future success for Georgia as well.
It is Smart who is spearheading UGA’s aggressive scheduling model and seeking a facilities blueprint aimed at keeping the Bulldogs an annual title contender.
The Bulldogs recently scheduled a future home-and-home series with Oklahoma in 2023 (away) and 2031 (Athens).
Smart’s comments this week make it clear he plans to be on the sideline for both, in Norman, and between the hedges in his “home.”
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