ATHENS, Ga. - Kirby Smart has been hired as the next head football coach at the University of Georgia, the University announced Sunday afternoon.
Smart is a former player and assistant coach at UGA, and has most recently served as defensive coordinator at the University of Alabama. He will be introduced at a news conference in Athens Monday.
"It's an honor and privilege to return home to the University of Georgia and my home state,” Smart said in a statement from the school. “I'm deeply appreciative of the faith President Morehead, Greg McGarity, and the Athletic Board Executive Committee have demonstrated in asking me to lead one of the truly great college football programs in the country."
"I'm honored and excited for the opportunity at Georgia and promise high energy, effort every day, and hard work every minute on the part of all our coaches, staff and student-athletes," Smart's statement went on to say.
Smart's hiring was approved Sunday by the Executive Committee of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors.
According to the memorandum of understanding provided by the school, Smart's contract will pay him $3.75 million per year. His contract runs through January of 2022. Possible bonuses include $1 million for winning a national championship.
"It was critical to identify a person who would focus on a specific, defined process of developing championship football teams on and off the playing field,” Georgia Director of Athletics Greg McGarity said in a statement. “Someone who understands the true meaning of a student-athlete by actually experiencing it himself --- someone who competed at the highest levels on the playing field, was mentored by some of the very best in the game, and understood the specific ingredients necessary to excel at the highest levels of college athletics --- Kirby Smart fits that profile. I believe Kirby Smart is the perfect fit for the University of Georgia," McGarity said.
Smart played for the Bulldogs from 1995-1998 as a defensive back. He was first team All-SEC in 1998. He went to Bainbridge High School.
Smart replaces Mark Richt, who left UGA after 15 seasons following a disappointing 9-3 record this year. Richt has since been hired as coach at the University of Miami.
Smart will be introduced as the new head coach during a news conference in Athens on Monday.