By: Colton Towe
Kirby Smart is at Georgia for the second time as a coach at his alma mater. Smart played at Georgia from 1995 to 1999 as a safety.
Smart is from Birmingham, Alabama, but decided to further his education at the University of Georgia. He was a four-year letterman and was elected as an All-SEC defensive back his senior year.
Smart wasn’t drafted, but he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts in free agency. Smart was later released by the Colts before the regular season started.
Smart started on the path of becoming a coach by first becoming an administrative assistant for the Bulldogs in 1999. He has coached at other programs like Valdosta State, Florida State, Alabama and LSU.
Smart won four national championships as Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama before being hired to replace Mark Richt at Georgia last December.
Since many students at Georgia were to young to remember when Richt was announced as Georgia’s football coach in 2000, they don’t know what it’s like to have a new coach at UGA. Smart was hired on Dec. 7, 2015.
Tom Brew from Saturday Down South wrote, “Smart, a former Bulldogs player, has won four national titles as Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama and he is without question, a perfect fit for Georgia.”
Smart has proven himself to be winner as the leader of Alabama’s stout defense for the past eight years.
Georgia has a rich tradition of winning with one national championship in 1980 and 12 SEC championships, the last conference title came in 2005 with Richt as coach.
John Halls from Saturday Down South wrote, “The inability to win championships ultimately cost Mark Richt his job, so new Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has no illusions about what’s expected of him Athens.”
Dawg Nation is used to a tradition of winning football games, especially the important ones like the rivalry games ( Georgia Tech, Auburn and Florida).
Smart has been the talk of the town and around Dawg Nation for possibly being the savior of the program.
Sheweat Laine, a UGA student stated, “A fresh start is always nice. It gives the team more potential to grow and flourish. He’s just got a ton of living up to do. He better not mess up my four years.”
Pressure is weighing on Smart more than most of the coaches in the college football world.
Football is what the students live for on a Saturday afternoon at UGA.
It’s what the students and fans cheer for in Sanford Stadium.
It’s what rocks the hedges every home game
And it’s what fuels the Red and Black.
Smart will coach his first game for the bulldogs on Sept. 3 against old rival North Carolina, his first game Between the Hedges will be on Sept. 10 against Nicholls State.