of the SEC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on December 6, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is set to become Mark Richt’s replacement as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Richt was fired from his position Sunday at the end of the Bulldogs’ season.

From the AJC:

Barring a last-minute snag in negotiations, Alabama’s Kirby Smart will become Georgia’s new football coach. An announcement could come as soon as Sunday or Monday.


Smart will bring in his own staff, but is expected to retain defensive line coach Tracy Rocker.

Smart played football at the University of Georgia from 1995-1998 as a defensive back under Ray Goff, and Jim Donnan. The former Alabama defensive coordinator got his coaching start at Georgia as an administrative assistant.

Smart was last at Georgia in 2005 as a running backs coach, and spent time at Valdosta State, Florida State, and LSU in various capacities between his first two stints at Georgia. After one year with the Miami Dolphins in 2006 as safeties coach, Smart has been at Alabama since 2007, their defensive coordinator since 2008.

Smart appeared to be the popular choice for the Dawgs right out of the gate, as ESPN’s Mark Schlabach points out:

According to the sources, Georgia contacted representatives of at least a couple of other candidates, including Houston’s Tom Herman, but it was apparent to the other candidates that the job was Smart’s from the beginning. Herman never talked with UGA athletics director Greg McGarity about the job, the sources said.

When you consider Georgia’s standing as one of the best jobs in college football, it’s almost a little shocking that they didn’t take more time to see who they could exactly bring in. Or even from Schlabach’s account, at least make other guys feel like they had a chance at the job.

In the end, Georgia got who they wanted. That could end up being a good, or a bad thing. Time will tell.


About Harry Lyles Jr.

Harry Lyles Jr. is an Atlanta-based writer, and a Georgia State University graduate.