Smart decides to stay at Alabama

Published 2:45 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2010

National champion University of Alabama Crimson Tide defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, the Bainbridge High School Bearcats 1993 Region 1AAAA defensive player of the year, decided Monday to stay with Coach Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.

Smart was considering an offer from Coach Mark Richt to become defensive coordinator at the University of Georgia where he was an All-Southeastern Conference defensive back with the Bulldogs.

Smart, son of former Bearcats and Rabun County High School Wildcats head coach Sonny and Sharon Smart, won the Frank Broyles Award, which is presented annually to the top assistant coach in college football.

“I think it was pretty well known that there was an opportunity to return to my alma mater as defensive coordinator,” Smart said in a statement released Monday. “I wouldn’t even have considered discussing the position with any other school.

“We love it in Tuscaloosa, have made some great friends here, and I think we are building something special here at Alabama with Coach Saban. I have learned so much in the time I’ve spent with Coach Saban, and every year I feel like I become a better coach.

“I’ve got a great deal of respect for Coach Richt and the job he has done there, and the University of Georgia will always have a special place in my heart. Not only did I play there, but my wife played basketball there and we have a lot of friends at UGA.”