Kirby Smart rewarded Georgia fans’ patience following an 8-5 freshman campaign with an SEC title, a historic Rose Bowl victory, and very nearly a national title. Today the powers that be in Butts-Mehre rewarded Smart in return.
The top ‘Dawg received a new contract which will pay him an average of $7 million per season through 2024, $49 million in total. The aggregate contract puts Smart in a virtual tie with Gus Malzahn for the fifth highest salary among college football coaches, behind only Urban Meyer (Ohio State), Nick Saban (Alabama), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), and Jimbo Fisher (Texas A&M).
I think the appropriate reaction from Bulldog fans should be a gentle sigh of relief followed by a smile. Raises were announced earlier this year for Smart’s assistants, including coordinators, and frankly the amounts were pretty underwhelming. Georgia is not paying up for assistant coaching talent.
I personally was a little fearful that Greg McGarity and other decision makers might try to get the "friends and family" rate from Bulldog alumnus Smart. Instead, they came through with a deal that puts him behind only a handful of coaches who (with the exception of the guy who gets grossly overpaid to wear khakis and finish third in the Big Ten) have recent national titles on their resumes. If Kirby puts the Red and Black back in the title game and wins a title, I have every reason to expect that he will see an additional healthy raise.
With this move Georgia has kept the program momentum built in 2017 and struck another blow against the school’s former reputation for not investing in its football program. That’s about the best college football news you’re going to get on a Thursday afternoon in May. Until later . . .