TITLE Football Head Coach
A 2021 College Football Playoff national championship, a 2018 CFP title game appearance, 2017 Southeastern Conference Championship, four SEC Eastern Division titles, 65 wins, and five bowl victories are more than respectable rewards over a six-year period. That’s what Georgia got when it hired former Georgia player and Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart to head the program in December of 2015.
His impact, along with a stellar coaching staff, players, and a passionate fan base has put Georgia on the national stage six years running.
His 2021 team became UGA’s first national championship team since 1980, the first since 1982 to record an undefeated SEC regular season record (8-0), a number one national ranking by all the major polls and the first ever to win 14 games. It marked the fifth straight team to finish the regular season ranked in the top ten of the College Football Playoff rankings. The team set 21 school records highlighted by the nation’s top-ranked defense. The third ranked Bulldogs defeated #2 Michigan, 34-11, in the Capitol One Orange Bowl in Miami and then No. 1 Alabama, 33-18, in the championship game in Indianapolis. The senior class also set the mark for most career wins by going 45-8.
2020 - Despite the challenges of practicing and playing in a pandemic, the 2020 Bulldogs became Smart’s fourth consecutive team to earn a New Year’s Six bowl game appearance. With a Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl victory over undefeated Cincinnati on Jan. 1, 2021, the 2020 Bulldog seniors tied the record for the most wins by a senior class in school history (44) set by the 2005 and 2019 teams. This was Smart’s fourth straight team to finish the regular season ranked in the top ten of the CFP rankings, the final AP poll, and the USA Today Coaches Poll (2017.
2019 - Smart’s 2019 Bulldogs became the first team in school history to win 11 or more games for a third straight season. The senior class posted a four-year record of 44-12, matching the school record of 44 wins for a senior class. Along the 2019 schedule, Georgia defeated three Top 15 teams in the final CFP ranking — Notre Dame, Florida, and Auburn — and finished as the fourth-ranked team in the final polls. The Bulldogs capped their season with a dominant victory over Baylor in the Allstate Sugar Bowl game.
2018 - Georgia in 2018 posted an 11-1 regular season record, a second straight SEC Eastern Division title, and a ranking as high as number four in the CFP poll. Georgia landed in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 2019—the program’s tenth all-time appearance in the New Orleans classic. For his efforts, Smart was named a semifinalist in the Maxwell Club George Munger National Coach of the Year balloting and a finalist in the Bobby Dodd Trophy Coach of the Year competition.
2017 - Smart’s second season in 2017 was a special one, with an 11-1 regular-season record, an SEC title, a win over Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl Game (CFP semifinal) and advancement into the CFP National Championship Game. In the SEC championship game, the Bulldogs avenged their only regular-season loss with a 28-7 victory over Auburn. It was the first conference title since 2005 for the Red and Black.
Both Smart and his players reaped the bounty of their banner 2017 season. He was named George Munger National Coach of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club, SEC Coach of the Year by the Associated Press and SEC Coaches, and the Regional Coach of the Year by the AFCA. Roquan Smith earned first-team All-America honors and the Dick Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker. Smith, Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel were all taken in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, which also claimed seniors Nick Chubb, Lorenzo Carter and Javon Wims in subsequent rounds.
2016 -- In Smart’s first season leading the Bulldogs, Georgia made its 20th straight bowl appearance and posted four fourth-quarter comebacks, including wins over No. 8 Auburn and No. 22 UNC. He led the Bulldogs to an 8-5 final record, which included a victory over TCU in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
Smart has also made a profound impact in recruiting circles by posting the nation’s third-ranked class in 2017.
In addition to his coaching duties, Smart oversees the Kirby Smart Family Foundation, which is focused on being champions in the community by supporting needy children and families facing adversity.
As an Assistant Coach
When Smart officially came home to Georgia on Dec. 6, 2015, he had unfinished business as defensive coordinator at Alabama, which was still chasing a national title. He juggled both jobs for a month until Jan. 11, 2016, when the Crimson Tide won its fourth national championship in a 7-year span. Twelve hours later, he was at work in Athens, where he remains one of ten head coaches at schools from Power 5 conferences that are coaching at their alma maters.
Smart had served on the Alabama staff the previous nine years, the past seven as defensive coordinator. During his tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide won three BCS National Championships, one CFP national title, three SEC crowns, six SEC Western Division titles, and was ranked in the nation’s final top 10 the last eight years in a row.
During Smart’s time at Alabama, he coached players at three different positions, in addition to his coordinating duties. He was recognized as the 2012 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year and the 2009 Broyles Award winner as college football’s top assistant. He also was a finalist for the 2015 Broyles Award.
Prior to joining the Alabama staff in 2007, Smart spent the 2006 season as safeties coach with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. He served six years on the collegiate level as the running backs coach at Georgia (2005), defensive backs coach at LSU (2004), graduate assistant at Florida State (2002-03), defensive coordinator/linebackers coach (2001) and defensive backs coach (2000) at Valdosta State, and administrative assistant at Georgia (1999).
Smart was the running backs coach for Georgia’s 2005 SEC Championship team. His unit averaged 162.2 rushing yards per game, third in the SEC. He coached Thomas Brown, Danny Ware and Kregg Lumpkin — all future NFL players. In 2004 at LSU, he tutored two NFL draft picks: Corey Webster (2nd round, New York Giants) and Travis Daniels (4th round, Miami).
As a Player
Smart was a four-year letterman at defensive back for Georgia, where he was a First-Team All-SEC pick as a senior. He finished his career with 13 interceptions, a mark that still ranks sixth in UGA annals, and paced the Bulldogs with six interceptions in 1997 and five in 1998. He led the SEC in interceptions during his final season.
A four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Smart received his bachelor’s degree in Finance from Georgia in 1998 and his master’s in Physical Education from Florida State in 2003.
The Smart Family
The Bainbridge, Ga., native is married to the former Mary Beth Lycett of McDonough, Ga., a 4-year letterwinner and 2-year starter on the Georgia women’s basketball team from 2000-03. The couple met long after their undergraduate days at Georgia, when Lycett — then working in the UGA Athletic Association Business Office — helped arrange Smart’s trip to interview for the Bulldogs’ running backs coaching job in 2005. They are the proud parents of twins Weston and Julia (born Feb. 8, 2008) and son Andrew (born May 25, 2012).
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