January 29, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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Kirby Smart, Georgia finalizes $112.5 million contract extension

The deal, brokered by agent Jimmy Sexton in Memphis, is believed to make Smart the highest-paid coach in college football. It comes six months after Georgia won the school’s first national football championship in 41 years.

Southern Cal coach Lincoln Riley, who has never won a national championship, signed a 10-year, $110 million contract after leaving Oklahoma at the end of last season.

With a 14-1 mark last season, the Bulldogs improved to 66-15 (.815) under Smart, 40-9 in SEC play (.816) and 5-1 in bowling games. At the age of 46, he racked up victories in bowls of sugar, oranges, roses, and peaches.

Smart’s win percentage is .852 (58-10) over the past five seasons, which includes the 2021 College Football Championship, the 2018 CFP game appearance, the 2017 SEC Championship and four SEC Eastern Conference titles. His past five teams have all finished in the top ten of the final CFP rankings.

Smart has been named SEC Coach of the Year twice since his appointment in December 2015, and has coached 11 first-round picks in the NFL and 45 overall.

The Smart 2021 team will become one of the greatest in the school’s history. She recorded her first undefeated regular season (12-0) since 1982. With a 33-18 win over Alabama in the CFP title game in Indianapolis on January 10, Georgia’s defense only allowed 10.2 points per game. This was the lowest since Crimson Tide allowed 8.2 per game in 2011, when its defense was also under Smart’s direction. The Bulldog has 21 school records, all in all, mostly in a variety of defense.

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“Coach Smart’s impact on the University of Georgia extends far beyond the great accolades he has received as our soccer coach,” said Josh Brooks, director of Georgia Athletics, in a statement released by the school. “He and his wife are bulldogs through and through, and Athena and UGA obviously mean as much to him as he means to us. I am excited about the continued success of our football program under his guidance. The future of Georgian football remains bright with Coach Smart as its consistent leader.”

Said Smart: “I am grateful to Presidents Jerry Moorhead and Josh Brooks for their continued support of football in Georgia. It is a great honor to be the football coach at the University of Georgia, and while I am certainly proud of what we have been able to achieve, I am confident that the best is yet to come.”

Smart was asked Wednesday at SEC Media Days in the College Football Hall of Fame about the long process that has seen contract negotiations stretch into the sixth month.

“Both sides have worked really hard to get things done, and things have been great,” Smart said. “I can’t say more about what they were willing to do and the communication we got. It’s not as easy as you think. I think people think it’s just a number and a year, but there’s a lot more that goes into that.”