Bainbridge native Smart named UGA head coach

Published 7:07 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Photo Dec 02, 11 52 53 AM

Kirby Smart smiles with his dad and coach, Sonny, after being named Region 1-AAAA Defensive Player of the Year in 1993.

Rumors broke early last week that Kirby Smart would take over the head coach job for the Georgia football team.

While most people recognized his name as the defensive coordinator to the multiple-championship winning Alabama Crimson Tide, those in Bainbridge know him first and foremost as one of their own: a Bearcat.

Smart was first team All-Region in 1992 and 1993, his junior and senior seasons respectively, and coached by his dad, Sonny.

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“Sharon and I are very proud of Kirby,” Sonny said. “He has worked very hard to be where he is at and we look forward to him being very successful at Georgia.

Smart was a sharp cornerback and led the region with eight interceptions in both his junior and senior seasons. His interception returns totaled 173 yards and a touchdown. Smart also recovered seven fumbles, returned 24 punts for 303 yards and a touchdown and returned five kick offs for 123 yards.

In 1993, Smart was named Region 1-AAAA Defensive Player of the Year and first team All-State Atlanta Journal Constitution.

His senior season also saw the Bearcats reach the State Semifinals.

He was recruited by the Georgia Bulldogs and redshirted during the 1994 season. He started for the Bulldogs in 1995-1998 and was named first team All-SEC Safety and Academic All-American his final year.

“I’ve thought about this day all of my life,” Smart said during his press conference Monday. “As the son of a high school coach and the best English teacher in the world, I’ve always aspired to be a head coach. Thanks, mom, thanks, dad, for the example you set for me and for so many others.”

Smart has spent the last nine years as defensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide with head coach Nick Saban. He worked as an administrative assistant for UGA in 1999 before coaching at Valdosta State and Florida State. He coached defensive backs under Saban in 2004, returned to UGA to coach running backs in 2005 and then followed Saban to the NFL to coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2006.