The University of Georgia announced today that they are hiring current University of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as their next head coach. The decision comes about a week after the Bulldogs announced that they were firing 15-year head coach Mark Richt, who has already moved on to the University of Miami himself.
Smart as held his current job as Alabama’s defensive coordinator for the last seven years, three of which have ended with the Crimson Tide winning the BCS National Championship. This season, Alabama is allowing 14.4 points per game, which is third-best in the nation. Smart and the Crimson Tide defeated the University of Florida, 29-15, on Saturday, securing the SEC Championship. Alabama will play Michigan State in the first round of the College Football Playoff on New Year’s Eve at the Cotton Bowl.
Much like Richt returning to coach the team that he played for in college, this represents a homecoming for Smart, as he played defensive back for Georgia from 1995-98. Unlike Richt, who turned in subpar collegiate numbers as a back-up quarterback, Smart excelled as a player, earning First-Team All SEC in 1998 and also earning a spot on the SEC Academic Honor Roll in each of his four seasons.
While Georgia and Alabama are not scheduled to play each other in 2016, there does remain the possibility that they will face off in next year’s SEC Championship Game.