Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, whom many Georgia fans would love to see in the same job in Athens, made a rare appearance before the media today and said he is “looking forward” to being with the Crimson Tide again next season.
Smart, who like other Alabama assistant coaches is normally kept off-limits to the media by head coach Nick Saban, was made available at a news conference advancing Thursday’s BCS national championship game.
According to this Mobile Press-Register report from the news conference in southern California, Smart did not categorically deny interest in Georgia’s open defensive coordinator position, although that might have been because he wasn’t directly asked about it.
Here is some of what Smart did say at the press conference, according to the Press-Register:
“It’s been great. It’s been great having these players and doing this, and I’m looking forward to it next year. I mean, we’ve got a lot of good players coming back. We’re losing a lot of good ones too, but it’s something that’s special to be around, because these guys bought in and they went through some hard times. And now they’re reaping the benefits, which they deserve.”
On his head-coaching aspirations, he said:
“To be honest with you, I don’t ever think about it or worry about that. I think [longtime Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews] had a hell of a career. He’s a father figure to me. I worked for him for two years, and if I ended up coaching at Alabama for the next 30 years or however long he was at Florida State, I’d think my career was a pretty big success.
“My lifelong goal was to ultimately be a defensive coordinator, and if I ever got a chance at a head job, that would be great. But that’s not something that I’m going to draw my career and say I was a failure, I didn’t get to be a head coach or whatever. I’d be completely content with that. If a better opportunity presents itself, then obviously that’s something down the road. But young as I am, I’m happy to be where I’m at and happy to be at the University of Alabama.”
Since Georgia’s Dec. 2 firing of Willie Martinez, Smart — a former UGA player (1995-98) and assistant coach (2005) — has been at or near the top of just about every rumored list of defensive coordinators that Mark Richt would or should pursue. And if the Georgia job remains open after Thursday’s national-title game, perhaps that possibility would heat up. But to this point Smart still has given no indication he would leave Alabama for another coordinator’s job.