Could best candidate to be next coach at Alabama or UGA be … the SAME person?

Smart has a better chance to be future head coach at ...

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Could the best candidate to be the next football coach at both Alabama and UGA be the same person?

Before we say more, let’s point out that there are no signs of UGA’s Mark Richt or especially Alabama’s Nick Saban slowing down at all. They both appear to be peaking in their respective careers.

But nothing lasts forever. See Bear Bryant.

Who is a common candidate to one day succeed Saban or Richt? One suggestion is Kirby Smart, the former UGA football player who is now Alabama’s defensive coordinator.

AL.columnist Kevin Scarbinksy addressed the issue in his live chat on Monday:

Former UGA DB Kirby Smart is now Alabama's defensive coordinator (AP)

Former UGA DB Kirby Smart is now Alabama's defensive coordinator (AP)

I believe Kirby may be an unofficial and unannounced coach in waiting at Alabama but it would be hard to say no to UGA if that job opened first.

Some more background on Smart: He played defensive back at UGA from 1995-98 and returned to coach running backs for the Bulldogs in 2005. Smart has been working for Saban at Alabama since 2007, and declined the opportunity to return to his alma mater as UGA’s defensive coordinator in January 2010 (job later went to Todd Grantham).

At 36 years old, Smart is considered one of the SEC’s brightest young defensive minds. Working against Smart is the failure of another noted Saban disciple, Derek Dooley. Smart was also accused on message boards of using negative recruiting tactics against UGA last year but it was never proven.


AJC’s UGA blog

41 comments Add your comment


November 26th, 2012
1:03 pm

Big Crimson 75

November 26th, 2012
1:13 pm

If Jimbo goes the Aubie, then Kirby goes to FSU.
Why would Jimbo go to Aubie, you ask??
How bout the fact his team had 1 loss going into the Fla game & still looked up to 3 one-loss SEC teams, 2 two-loss SEC teams & another two-loss SEC right behing them.
Unless you run the table like ND, you can’t compete with the SEC.


November 26th, 2012
1:26 pm

Slow day in sports news? Why don’t youspeculate who will win the Super Bowl in 2016?

Sam Robards, Dawg Fan

November 26th, 2012
1:26 pm

Smart burned his bridge to UGA when he declined the DC job a couple years back, as far as I’m concerned. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. Coach Grantham is awesome, and I wouldn’t trade him for anybody.

I’m curious how much of Bama’s defense is Smart and how much of it is Saban. Considering that his name isn’t being thrown around in relation to a lot of the SEC head coach openings that have come about this year, I don’t think I’m alone in wondering that.

Still, I could see him taking over at Bama when Saban leaves.


November 26th, 2012
1:26 pm

Smart aint that smart. I went to school with him. I’ll give him credit for landing a great gig but I don’t expect much from him when he finally leaves “Daddy” Nicks house.

Pippa's hiney

November 26th, 2012
1:35 pm

old dog

November 26th, 2012
1:52 pm

One thing for sure…..he ain’t goin’ to Tech and ruin his life……………….


November 26th, 2012
2:00 pm

Dear Old Dog: Go to Hell ! Stronger language to follow.

Old yellow jacket

mike on lake hartwell

November 26th, 2012
2:00 pm

go dawgs. G A T F A on saturday!


November 26th, 2012
2:21 pm

If Saban is really the master mind behind the D then why give Smart the raise to keep him at UA? You could hire any A hole of the street and save yourself some money. You don’t usually give raises to people who are worthless.

The Grinch

November 26th, 2012
2:47 pm

Will Auburn have the big money to offer a new coach? From what I’ve heard, they’re still paying off Tubberville and now have an additional $7.5 million for Chizik.


November 26th, 2012
3:47 pm

GRINCH… Aubie as BIG CRIMSON calls them must run a Ponzi scheme with their cash… Whew, I know they mortgaged the bank for their new BBall gym, I think… I wonder when the cash will run out and who gets screwed….


November 26th, 2012
4:09 pm

I too think kirby has burnt his bridges with uga but on the recruiting trail as opposed to the DC job


November 26th, 2012
4:51 pm

Keith, burned bridges are easy to repair. Matt, you’re right!! Sam, you’re right about Grantham, and wrong about Saban. Saban is the CEO of Ala. Football. He says this is what I want to do and leaves the how to with the coaches. Saban also told Smart it was not wise to make a lateral move which is what Ga. DC would have been. Many schools don’t pay head coaches what Smart is making. Smart will get his chance and you can bet he will consult with Saban before accepting. He’s learning how to be a head coach from Saban. Who wouldn’t want to coach the recruits that Bama gets? On Dooley, he is a good young coach! His mistake was not surrounding himself with assistants that could recruit, not just coach. It’s like a baseball pitcher…he gets credit for winning a game, but he couldn’t do it without good players behind him.

[...] Could the best candidate to be head coach at Alabama or UGA be … the SAME PERSON? [...]

willie wingate

November 26th, 2012
6:57 pm

Enter your comments here

willie wingate

November 26th, 2012
7:00 pm

Please Bacari! Shut your trap. Hold your tongue until you and the team prove it on the field.


November 26th, 2012
8:26 pm

I agree, Willie wingate. Bacari…Shut the hell up!!!!

Rick James

November 26th, 2012
8:33 pm

Kirby Smart just rides Saban’s coat tails and is a coaching fraud..


November 26th, 2012
8:54 pm

Kirby Smart will never be offered the head coaching job at UGA. Once he thumbed his nose at UGA, fences will never be mended. Just like Ga Tech thumbed their nose at the SEC, UGA will make sure that Ga Tech never gets back in the SEC! At UGA, we do hold grudges!!!

Happy Warrior

November 26th, 2012
9:04 pm

The only way I ever want to see Kirby Smart coaching in Athens is on the visitors sidelines!!!


November 27th, 2012
12:58 am

By the time Richt leaves Athens, Smart will be well-entrenched as head coach of another SEC school or out of coaching all together. Go Dawgs!


November 27th, 2012
1:24 am

ANyone who thinks that Smart burned the UGA bridge when he declined the UGA DC job is wrong. The wise thing for Smart to do was to stay right where he was for a couple of reasons. 1) WHY leave for the same position you are in when a PRIME head coaching job would be available to you instead? If you go take a DC job and it dont go well, then the PRIME head coaching job just walked out the door. As long as you stay DC WITH Saban, no chance of losing that opportunity. 2) You get to CONTINUE learning UNDER the best UNTIL you get the head coaching job opportunity you want and therefore you are much better prepared. Coaching defense Saban style becomes 2nd nature and you learn more of Sabans head coaching techniques and both makes it much easier to focus on head coaching duties and not still learning to be a GREAT DC WITHOUT Saban. Both are invaluable. EVERYONE questions as to whether Smart would be nearly as good of a DC without Saban being around. SO to sum up, the longe with Saban the better for EVERYTHING and if you think Smart burned his UGA bridge then you are far too proud and need to wise up and let your pride and selfish ego dwindle…..


November 27th, 2012
1:29 am

By the way, unless Richt decides to retire or take a job at another school, he will be coach at UGA at least another 10 years. By then Smart will have had been a head coach someplace and if he was as good as people think he can be, then he will have a decision to make between staying where he is or coaching at his alma mater…..

Unless Richt leaves or retires, the UGA job will not be open so the likelyhood of Smart coming to UGA is far less than him taking Sabans place at Bama. Saban has a history of moving on BUT there isnt really nowhere for him to go in college so unless he wants to coach in the the NFL, I dont see him going anywhere either unless he is ready for a change or retirement….


November 27th, 2012
6:50 am

I sincerely believe Kirby is a great Defensive coach, but he would be mediocre to good as a head coach. I don’t believe he is any better than Derrick Dooley…..just caught up in the Bama mystique. Speaking of Derrick, I hope he lands on his feet. Great guy and a really good coach. Maybe he will be available if one of our asst coaches leaves this year.

Larry Munson

November 27th, 2012
7:06 am

All you Georgia people talk so great of Richt now but if he loses Saturday this column will be full of why richt should be gone.

Wise Old Dawg

November 27th, 2012
8:25 am

I wouldn’t trade Mark Richt and our current assistant coaches for any group in the country, college or pro. I wish Kirby well, but I don’t want to see him on our sidelines.

Fleischman in Chi Towns Bed

November 27th, 2012
8:41 am

Boy..the UGAY car flags are everywhere this week!!!! Lets see how many of them are out after the game this Saturday.


Destin Dawg

November 27th, 2012
11:16 am

Richt is 2 out of 3 vs. Saban in the SEC.. just sayin’

The Truth

November 27th, 2012
11:21 am

Kirby needs to be the head man somewhere else first. He has to prove himself away from “Daddy Nick” before he gets one of the two best jobs in college football.

The one job Saban WOULD take

November 27th, 2012
1:09 pm

THE real USC or Southern Cal. Lame Kiffen will be fired.

Kirby then would fill the Alabama vacancy and then, only time would tell.

Left Coast Dawg

November 27th, 2012
2:13 pm

Saban will be returning to the NFL after this season has concluded… heard it here first.

Craigee, aka Champs hero

November 27th, 2012
7:45 pm

Kirby Smart? You mean the “Human Backpack”? He would get beat in the secondary and ride the guys back until someone else made the tackle. This guy was so overrated as a player at UGA and I think he’s overrated as a coach. Guess he’s still the “Human Backpack”…riding on Saban’s back.

Say whut

November 27th, 2012
8:19 pm

I don;t want thim


November 28th, 2012
4:21 am

Aubie follows Obama’s lead..charge it,someone else will pay for it.RollOn….


November 28th, 2012
8:25 am

Why is this news? It’s obvious Smart is waiting to take over an SEC program.

Why would he move laterally. Why would he leave Bama except to take a head coaching gig.

Same thing with Muschamp. He turned down numerous offers while DC at Texas, until the Florida job opened up.

Smart will be a head coach in the SEC. The question is, which school?


November 28th, 2012
9:03 am

Bobby Petrino

November 28th, 2012
10:35 am

I’m looking for work.

Hell, I’d even coach GA Tech !

Crimson Dawg

November 28th, 2012
1:51 pm

Does the author truly believe that Saban and Richt are BOTH peaking in their career? That’s sad for UGA…..


November 29th, 2012
1:36 pm

Way too much importance and state money is assigned to a ‘college defensive coordinator.’ This job is only a recent addition to the available jobs out there and it pays $750k. For what? Prestige and Money to the University? Somehow I think they would survive. And please doofus fans in your trailer parks and Silverados, just shut up.


November 30th, 2012
2:46 pm

State money does not go to pay football coaches.