ATHENS, Ga. - Kirby Smart was introduced as the new head football coach at the University of Georgia at a news conference early Monday afternoon. Athletic Director Greg McGarity introduced Smart as a "perfect fit" for the University of Georgia.
After taking the podium, Smart thanked his mother and father, as well as Vince Dooley and Mark Richt for their help throughout his playing and coaching career.
Smart said he and his staff will do everything in their power to help their players be successful student-athletes. He promised to do things "the right way" in the UGA football program. He said he would push the players on his team harder than they have ever been pushed. Smart said it was also important that he and his staff make the players believe in themselves.
Smart said recruiting for UGA would be his first order of business. He said he planned to start meeting with recruits immediately following his introductory news conference. Skill players who can make explosive plays are among his top recruiting priorities, Smart said.
Smart called on Georgia fans to channel their energy in the same direction and to support the football program.
Smart said it was important to him to finish his job at the University of Alabama, as the Crimson Tide competes in the College Football Playoff. He will work with Alabama through at least New Year's Eve, and potentially through the national championship game on January 11th.
Smart said Alabama coach Nick Saban was supportive and excited for him when Smart told Saban about his decision to accept the Bulldogs coaching job.
Smart's hire was made official by the University of Georgia Athletic Association Sunday.
Smart comes to UGA from the University of Alabama, where he has been defensive coordinator since 2008. During that time, Smart was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
Smart agreed to a six-year contract paying him at least $3.75 million a year. He could also earn bonuses of up to $1.6 million if the Bulldogs win a national championship.